A whole family has been murdered with a pickaxe. They were old Danner the farmer, an overbearing patriarch; his put-upon devoutly religious wife; and their daughter Barbara Spangler, whose husband Vincenz left her after fathering her daughter little Marianne. She also had a son, two-year-old Josef, apparently the result of her affair with local farmer Georg Hauer after his wife's death from cancer. Hauer himself claimed paternity. Also murdered was the Danners' new maidservant, Marie, who was regarded as slightly simple. The Murder Farm is an unconventional detective story. The author interweaves testament from the villagers, an oblique view of the murderer, occasional third-person narrative pieces and passages of pious devotion. Officially the crime is unsolved, the narrator leaves the village unaware of the truth, only the reader is able to reach the shattering conclusion.