Sunday, October 30, 2011

Scandinavian mystery reveiws: Indriðason and Elsebeth Egholm "Next of Kin"

 Jounalist Dicte Svendsen is sent an anonymous package containing a CD in which a graphic murders takes place by someone dressed in Muslm garb. Shortly after, similar events occur in England.  Is this the work of a terrorist cell with a network bent on vengeance on the imperialist dogs?! Or a pair of nutters acting alone? And why has Dicte been targeted?

This crime has the detective stumped and the secret service also becomes involved. More hard work for our long suffering detectives, in Elsebeth Egholm's Next of Kin. Dicte Svendsen, as the journalist has to examine long forgotten elements of her past in order to uncover the link between the murder and herself. Dicte also confronts her own racial prejudices which were buried underneath denial when her daughter again begins dating a Muslim boyfriend.

Her  first book translated into English, I certainly hope it won't be her last! Given the success of this book it is highly liked that the three previous titles will trickle down to the english speaking world.
Almost every chapter finishes with a cliffhanger which means it is torture to set the book aside for continued reading the next day! Fellow readers have done a 4am finish (me a moderate 1.30am finish) in order to solve the mystery that lingers on through subconscious streams of thought.

Themes of prejudice, multicultural tolerance, freedom of speech, retribution and forgiveness are found within this book and it is likely that it was written as a reaction and ensuing furore over, the publication of the Mohammed cartoons in Denmark.  Elsebeth sets her society up for panic and hysteria and scapegoating minorities.

A great read...

The good:Suspenseful, intelligently written, teasing, darn good crime story. Spectacular translation!!!
The bad: The alleged perpetrator spills the beans too easily once confronted.
The ugly: The way the victim was killed. Ugly, but wholly necessary..

"He considered the two worlds. He lived in his own little crime world. He looked for killers and had finally found someone with a motive. No global politics here, even though the execution in Britain troubled him. Perhaps it was not more than two people on a personal crusade and not, as Stroem was fantasising, an extremist political conspiracy against society. Because that was Stroem's world. Those were the lenses he was wearing."
Something to ponder about.....

New on the Crime Scene...
Reactions to Reading reviews a new book from Arnaldur Indriðason as translated to English by Anna Yates here:  Review of Outrage by Arndaldur Indriðason

and states that "The 7th (in English anyway) of what must now be called the Reykjavik mysteries (due to the potentially sinister absence of its regular protagonist from this instalment) is a good old-fashioned police procedural in which one of Erlunder’s colleagues, gourmet cook Elinborg, investigates the murder of a young man in his Reykjavik apartment"

Hmmmm.. can't wait....


  1. I have been so curious to see what English readers who jump into the series would think about Dicte Svendsen. I am glad you liked it; it was one of my favourite series ten years ago, but I really don´t get why any publisher would choose to begin with # 4.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I read somewhere that they chose #4 as the first to be published in English, asit was the strongest of the titles and could stand alone and sell well. The others, I feel sure, they will now publish, given the inroads this book has made into the English literature world of crime fiction.