Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen

It has been far too long since I added to my blog so this is the first of regular posts, beginning March 2014. I have been reading Nordic crime,  perhaps too much, as time for blogging has been non-existent. But, here we go....
The Gingerbread House introduces us to Inspector Conny Sjoberg, a welcome new addition to my list of interesting crime fiction characters. Conny has a young, big family and is in a happy marriage. This is, as readers of crime fiction will know, rather unusual; most lead detectives have any number of impediments to a stable family life!
Conny becomes involved in a very unusual case. An elderly woman, returning to her Stockholm home from an extended stay in hospital, discovers the body of a man in her kitchen. She has no known connection to the man and there is no apparent reason for him to have been in her home. As he and his team are grappling with this mystery, Conny hears of other suspicious deaths but does not immediately relate them to the dead body he is investigating. He will, though, come to realise that he has a serial killer at work.
Whilst we are reading of the Inspector's struggle to find a motive for the murder, we are also reading of Thomas, a completely isolated man who was the victim of dreadful bullying at school as a very young boy. We quickly realise that one of Thomas' classmates was the man found dead in the old woman's kitchen.
Gerhardsen cleverly manipulates the reader; we are so sure of the correlation between Thomas' revelations to us and the focus of Conny's investigation that we believe we know the killer and the motivation for the murders. You will have to read it to discover if this is in fact, true. Originally published in 2008, this is the first of a series, one I am looking forward to reading as more are translated into English.

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