23 April 2014

Review: THE FIRE DANCE, Helene Tursten

  • first published 2005
  • #6 in the Irene Huss series
  • translated into English 2014, by Laura A. Wideburg
  • published in 2014 by Soho Press
  • ISBN 978-1-61695-010-1
  • 306 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

In this sixth installment in the critically acclaimed Swedish crime series, the murder of a young ballerina named Sophie, apparently an arson victim, sets off shrill alarm bells for Detective Inspector Irene Huss, who remembers the matching details of an unsolved case from fifteen years earlier, when Irene had only just started in the police force. The stepfather of the then eight-year-old Sophie has been murdered in a very similar way, and at the time the girl herself had been under suspicions. The circumstances force Irene and her colleagues to confront an uncomfortable question: can a child be responsible for the cold-blooded murder of an adult? The case awakens vivid memories that take the reader back to Irene's days as a young police officer.

My Take

Rather frustratingly we are once again playing catch-up with quality Danish crime fiction. THE FIRE DANCER was first published in Swedish in 2005, and has only made it into English nearly a decade later.

The case spans Detective Inspector Irene Huss's career with the the Goteborg crime unit. She had been newly appointed when her boss asked her to take over the questioning of eleven year old Sophie Malmborg with regard to a house fire that killed her step-father Magnus Eriksson. Fifteen years later the details of the earlier case come flooding back to Irene when she learns of the death of Sophie also in an arson attack.

What I've enjoyed about this series is Irene's determination to get to the bottom of the cases. She has a very practical attitude to her work. Throughout the books there have been glimpses of her home life, and in the background in THE FIRE DANCE are her twin teenage daughters making their own ways in life, and her husband chef Krister who is suffering from burnout.

A satisfying read.

My rating: 4.5

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Anonymous said...

I liked this book, mainly because I like Irene Huss as a character. She moves straight ahead in investigating crimes, but is very human, and has a relatively normal home life -- compared to many detectives, including Scandinavians.

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - I like this series very much, and I think part of the reason is the nicely drawn character of Irene Huss. She's a skilled cop, but she's also a normal person if I may put it that way.

Marce said...

I have been intrigued with this one, didn't realise it was a series though.


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