Christmas in the alpine town of Furth am See: a six-year-old girl finds her grandfather lying outside, his skull broken, his face a red pulp against the white snow. From that time on, she does not speak a single word.For detective Ludwig Kovacs, year-end crimes are always an imposition, and he is sure this victim will keep him busy well into January. Raffael Horn, the psychiatrist engaged to treat the silent child, is drawn into solving the crime along with Kovacs. Their parallel enquiries sweep through Furth, but the psychological profile of this claustrophobic, snowbound town is not reassuring. The Sweetness of Life is a brilliant exploration of unbalanced minds by a writer of penetrating intelligence.