This charming Swedish mystery by Camilla Lackberg is a delight for fans of “foreshadowing” who love twists and turns at the end of virtually every chapter. No surprise that it won the International Crime Novel of the Year. It is also her first novel, originally published in 2003. it has just been released here in translation.
Representing the culture of a small Swedish town without dipping too heavily into stereotypes, it was the people that I found most interesting. They pretty much behaved the way people would, given the circumstances. A rarity in most books these days.
One of the first pieces of advice given to a writer is “write what you know” and she clearly know the ins and outs, the characters and characteristics, of the small village (where she actually grew up) which is the setting.
And although it took place in winter, the weather was not a character; it wasn’t even a problem. The was an aspect I most enjoyed — people simply dealt with it when necessary, otherwise ignored it. No hype.
Also appreciated the book’s relatively light tone, given that it’s a murder mystery. After Larsen, Mankell, and Hiassen I’d begun to feel that male Swedes were all middle-aged and depressed. Lackberg’s nice guy detective was a welcome change.
With characters that I’d like to meet again, I’m certainly hoping that she writes more with them. Lackberg is now on my “watch for” list.