He smiles, but he doesn’t show what he has in his heart.
I really enjoyed this book, but for reasons I can’t really pinpoint. It wasn’t like any other true crime book I’ve read, it was more like a memoir of Heinrich Scholl’s life. It was certainly a very dry read in parts, in terms of the actual crime, but I just quite liked reading about how well Heinrich succeed in his life. By the time we got the trial, I was actually very excited to see how it all played out, and I was really rushing through the pages (in a good way). The one big downfall with this book was that I don’t know enough about the history of Germany – the war and the fall of the Berlin wall etc – so a lot of the relevance of these events and Scholl’s life were a little lost on me.
Heinrich was abused mentally as a child by his mother and then again as an adult, by his wife – even after all his successes in life, so it was kind of understandable for him to fall into these relationships, with the lady from the town hall and with Nani. and call it “love”. Because he was never loved beforehand. It’s sad really. And his desperation to succeed as an older man was also very upsetting. But he was also wrong to string his wife along for years and years, if he was really unhappy, he should have tried harder to leave her.
Heinrich’s wife, Gitti, was a horrid woman! I understand the marriage they had was pretty much a complete sham, but she treated her husband like dirt. Another reason it’s no surprise Heinrich went looking for other relationships. But I also feel sorry for Gitti, not just because she was murdered, She lost all her family in the most depressing of ways and because she obviously had some troubles of wanting and not succeeding to have a perfect life, and this clearly damaged her. She clearly had some mental issues that made her flit between cursing Heinrich, wanting Heinrich back, and killing herself.
The crime of Brigitte Scholl’s death is certainly a strange one. Everything points to Heinrich as the murderer, but then it also doesn’t. I’m not sure I believe it was calculated murder. Manslaughter? Maybe. But murder, no. I actually find it hard to believe he did it at all, but maybe that’s because I have so much pity for him.
This book just leaves you wondering around with your own thoughts. It comes to a conclusion, the charge of murder, but it doesn’t lead you to any final decision. The choice is yours to make; is Heinrich Scholl guilty of murdering his wife and dog?
Thanks to Netgalley and Text Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.