Die Judenbuche (The Jew's Beech) is a novella written by Annette von Droste-Hülshoff and first published in 1842. The beech tree becomes a significant symbol in the story.
It has been considered as potentially one of the first murder mysteries and is indeed often viewed as a crime thriller or Gothic fiction. The book is full of implications and red herrings while there is no definitive answer as to what actually happened.
The story is based on a real-life 18th-century report provided by Annette von Droste-Hülshoff's uncle, the agronomist and writer August von Haxthausen. The events take place in the village of B. (Dorf B.) in the Westphalian mountains, which represents Bellersen in the former Prince-Bishopric of Paderborn, today part of the town of Brakel. The plot reflects the conditions of anarchy, bigotry, and antisemitism in a microstate's society of the disintegrating Holy Roman Empire.
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