After Pia’s grandmother dies in a freak accident, the neighbors in her little German hometown of Bad Münstereifel glance at Pia with wary eyes. But then something else captures the community’s attention: the vanishing of Katharina Linden. Katharina was last seen at a parade, dressed as Snow White. Then, like a character in a Grimm’s fairy tale, she disappeared. Ten-year-old Pia and her only friend, the unpopular StinkStefan, suspect that Katharina has been spirited away by the supernatural. Their investigation is inspired by such local legends as that of Unshockable Hans, visited by witches in the form of cats, or of the knight whose son is doomed to hunt forever. Then another girl vanishes, and Pia is plunged into a new and unnerving place, one far away from fairy tales—and perilously close to adulthood.
Helen Grant was born in London. She read classics at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, and then worked in marketing for ten years in order to fund her love of traveling. In 2001 she and her family moved to Bad Münstereifel in Germany, and while exploring the legends of this beautiful town she was inspired to write her first novel. She now lives in Brussels with her husband, her two children, and a small German cat. Delacorte Press will publish her second novel, The Glass Demon, in 2011.
WINNER OF THE ALA ALEX AWARD
“Both a wonderful first novel and a strange, haunting modern fairy tale.”—John Connolly
“A stunning debut.”—Rick Riordan
“Steeped in spooky legends and set in a country that, for all its present-day serenity, can’t fully escape the burden of its harrowing past, this is a mystery with unusual resonance.”—The Washington Post
“A rich and haunting read with nearly flawless writing.”—The Roanoke Times
“A contemporary story that feels age-old, too . . . dotted with creepy tales.”—The New York Times
“Outstanding.”—The Times (London)