19 June 2014

Review: THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE, Carin Gerhardsen

  • first published in 2008
  • This edition published in 2012 by Stockholm Text Publishing
  • translated from Swedish into English by Paul Norlen
  • Also available from Penguin Australia and Amazon (Kindle)
  • ISBN 978-9-1871-7330-1
  • first title in the Hammarby series
  • 305 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (Penguin Australia)

Ingrid Olsson returns home from a Stockholm hospital to discover a man in her kitchen. She's never seen the intruder before. But he's no threat - he's dead.

Criminal Investigator Conny Sjöberg takes the call, abandoning his wife Åsa and their five children for the night. His team identify the body as that of a middle-aged family man. But why was he there? And who bludgeoned him to death?

Lacking suspect and motive, Sjoberg's team struggle until they link the case to another - apparently random - killing. And discover they face a serial killer on a terrible vendetta . . .

My Take

A reading friend introduced me very enthusiastically to this author. Our local library has the first two titles in the series, and I'll be reading the second.

The reader sees the story not only from the angle of the police investigators who identify the body of the 44 year old man on the kitchen floor, but also from the point of view of one of his victims. As the bodies of other 44 year olds turn up, the police team tries to identify the thread that connects them. But we, the readers, already know what that thread is.

There is quite a lot of background about members of the police team, as we would expect at the beginning of a new series. A female member of the team is drugged and raped and undertakes an investigation of her own into the perpetrator. That thread provides an interesting second story.

The byline on the front cover of the edition I read says "published by the same team that brought you THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO", and I did think "Oh no, someone else riding on Stieg Larsson's coat-tails". The writing in THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE is not as complex as Larsson's nor the story quite as deep, but the blurb is right when it says "dark, suspenseful, and deep".

So here is a new name in Scandinavian crime fiction for you to track down. The next in the series is CINDERELLA GIRL which I gather may have had the working title of PLAYING HOUSE.

My rating: 4.7

About the author

Carin Gerhardsen was born in 1962 in Katrineholm, Sweden. Originally a mathematician, she enjoyed a successful career as an IT consultant before turning her hand to writing crime fiction. Cinderella Girl is the second novel in The Hammarby Series, novels following Detective Inspector Conny Sjoberg and his murder investigation team. Carin now lives in Stockholm with her husband and their two children. She is currently working on the seventh title in the series.


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I've had it on my Kindle for a while now, and have gone back and forth about reading it. I suppose it's time I did...

Anonymous said...

I should probably try this series. I'm sure I can get it from the library.


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