By Mari Jungstedt
“She loved this sparsely furnished cabin, where she had stayed every summer since she was a child. Actually, she and Per needed to be alone. Have some time to talk and be together without cell phones, computers or alarm clocks, after a stressful and hectic spring. Still, dinner with her old friends wasn’t a bad idea, Helena thought, realizing how much she had missed them.”
There’s a festive mood in the air at a cabin in Gotland, Sweden. Three couples, most of them life-long friends, are enjoying the Whitsuntide holiday with food, music and drinks, but by the end of the evening one of the women has been slapped and accused of infidelity and two of the men have come to blows.
The next morning the body of one woman is found on the beach. Her body covered an axe wounds and her underwear stuffed in her mouth. For the police this seems like an open and shut case when they pick up her partner but Inspector Anders Knutas isn’t so sure.
His investigation opens other potential leads and when the boy of another woman is discovered within a matter of days, the police and public fearfully realize they are dealing with a serial killer.
While many crime novels focus on the inspector investigating the crime scene, this one takes a much more inclusive approach. The series features Inspector Knutas but he isn’t the only main player as there is a crime reporter who also share as much of the spotlight as well as other characters.
This works to give the reader a bigger picture of a crime investigation in a foreign country. Yes, the goal is to catch the bad guys but the approaches are different. In turn I think this helps the reader learn a bit about another countries’ customs, political and economic situations, etc.
So while I didn’t get a good feel for Inspector Knutas in this book, I still enjoyed it for introducing me to another Swedish crime novel. This was certainly a good first start to the series and I look forward to the next one.