15 February 2008

Favourite Authors- #2 Karin Fossum

There's a good list of Karin Fossum's novels over at Fantastic Fiction as well as a photo of her in which she looks remarkably like Ruth Rendell.

In the last 3 years I have read 4 of her novels, and given 3 of them a rating of 5. I was probably being a bit mean with the other rating. I've listed them in the order in which they should be read.

DON'T LOOK BACK
The second time I have read this book by the 'Norwegian Queen of Crime' and I liked it even better the second time around. A six-year-old child disappears, terrifying her parents; when she suddenly returns home, a teenager is found murdered on a mountain path, her naked body carefully covered with a jacket. And the teenager’s on-and-off again boyfriend has lived through a childhood so nightmarish that he barely survives, only to find himself a murder suspect.There is comfort in the person of Inspector Sejer, the man charged with solving this murder in the picturesque setting near the Kollen Mountains. With his calm demeanor, the gray-haired inspector pursues anyone who knew the murdered girl, peeling away the fa├žade of this idyllic village. The teenager’s shocking death has unsettled everyone, but there is an appalling paucity of clues for the inspector to work with on this puzzling case.
My rating: 5

HE WHO FEARS THE WOLF
is the second title and for some reason I have no record.
This is the blurb from Fantastic Fiction
Superb plotting, fresh style and compassionate, detailed treatment of characters have made the Inspector Sejer Mysteries bestsellers in their native Norway. A twelve-year-old boy runs wildly into his local police station claiming to have seen Halldis Horn's brutally murdered corpse. Errki Johrma, an escaped psychiatric patient and known town misfit, was sighted at the scene disappearing into the woods. The next morning the local bank is robbed at gunpoint. Making his escape the robber takes a hostage and flees and, once again, a suspect takes to the woods.

WHEN THE DEVIL HOLDS A CANDLE
Translated from the Norwegian and starring her detective creation, Inspector Konrad Sejer and his sidekick, Jacob Skarre, the book tells the tale of two delinquent youths who accidentally kill a child when snatching a purse from a pram. Later that day, a life-changing event occurs between the two friends, Andreas and Zipp, who – in order to erase its memory – choose to rob an elderly woman. Except that Andreas enters her house, but never leaves again. While Zipp ponders where he is and the police close the net around the baby's murderers, Fossum takes you inside the house to witness the grim goings on. She draws the reader into the mind of the old woman, explaining her actions and her perceptions of the young man she has trapped there, even as she recounts the grisly events taking place behind her closed doors. It also touches on the ongoing saga of Sejer, his newfound love for Sara and the hassles that affect his family and friends.
mY RATING 4.5

CALLING OUT FOR YOU! (aka INDIAN BRIDE)
Gunder Jomann, a quiet, middle-aged man from a peaceful Norwegian community, meets Poona on a trip to India and the two agree to marry. Gunder returns home to prepare for her arrival, but the day Poona is due to arrive, he is summoned to the hospital as his sister has been involved in a car crash. The driver sent to collect Poona in Gunder’s place fails to meet her. Then the body of an Indian woman matching Poona’s description is found in a cornfield on the edge of the community and a murder enquiry is set underway. This baffling mystery — for what motive could there be to bludgeon a newly arrived foreigner to death — sends shock waves through the community. Inspector Sejer and Skarre are called in to investigate. Increasing suspicion surrounds people’s mundane daily activities, and even when one man’s confession seems to tie up all the loose ends, there remains the uneasy feeling that all is not as simple as it first appears. published in 2001, not translated until 2005.
My rating: 5

BLACK SECONDS
Helga Joner has often thought that her nine year old daughter Ida is too good to be true, too good to last. The disappearance of a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. When Ida fails to arrive home from the shop, Helga feels she had been rehearsing the moment for years. First Helga and her sister Ruth scour the streets where they might find Ida, without success, and then they ring the police. Helga feels that somehow she has tempted fate, setting off an inevitable chain of events.
When Inspector Konrad Sejer arrives at her house, Helga feels instinctively that he will find Ida. As time passes Sejer becomes concerned that no trace has been found of Ida or the bright yellow bicycle she rode to the shop. One hundred and fifty volunteers search for Ida without success. Eight days later there are still no clues, the search is to be scaled down, and a chance comment by Helga to Sejer gives them something new to work on.
My rating: 5

A new title due to come out this year
BROKEN - not a Conrad Sejer title though
From the blurb on Fantastic Fiction.
A gripping novel set on the boundary between fact and fiction.
A woman wakes one night to find that a strange man has walked into her bedroom. She lies there in terrified silence unable to move. The woman is an author and the man one of her prospective characters. So desperate is he to have his story told that he has resorted to breaking into her house to make her tell it.
She creates Alvar Eide, forty-two years old, single, who works in an art gallery. He lives a quiet, dutiful life, carefully designed to avoid surprises. One winter's day, all this begins to change when an emaciated young heroin addict walks into the gallery. A kind man, Alvar gives her a cup of coffee to warm her up. She returns some weeks later to his place of work, and then one day appears on his doorstep demanding to be let in.
Interspersed with the chapters of Alvar's story are his encounters with its author — the frantic attempts of a fictional man trying to control his own destiny. Broken is a gripping novel about the boundary between fact and fiction and the perils of good intentions.

1 comment:

Bogsider said...

Hi there, just found your blog via another blog and a link there :o) I find it highly interesting that you are all the way down there in Oz and you are reading Scandinavian mysteries! How great is that!?

Lou (aka Bogsider, which means book-pages)

http://louspages.blogspot.com/

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