From Publishers Weekly
Gumshoe Award–winner Fossum (When the Devil Holds the Candle
) once again wraps a blanket of methodical police work and infectious psychological tension around a relatively quiet crime in her fifth Inspector Sejer mystery to be made available in the U.S. When nine-year-old Ida Joner takes off for town (never named) on her new bike one afternoon and is never seen again, suspicion falls on Emil Johannes Mork, a silent, simple man. Emil, however, doesn't appear to have the heart of a killer. The narrative shifts smoothly among those affected by the tragedy: Emil's beleaguered mother, a good woman with little life of her own; a male cousin of the missing girl who may suffer some secret guilt; and, of course, Insp. Konrad Sejer and his younger colleague, Jacob Skarre. Sejer is a beautifully created character, a thoughtful, lonely man with great empathy. As he investigates Ida's disappearance, it's not so much the facts of the case as the impact of it on the people who surrounded the girl that fuel the story. (July)
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*Starred Review* Inspector Sejer and his innocent-looking assistant, Jacob Skarre, are back (The Indian Bride, 2007) in another dark, intense, and impossible-to-put-down investigation. Nine-year-old Ida has gone missing, and Sejer and Skarre head up the hunt, even as everyone, including Sejer and his own mother, suspects a local man, Emil, who never speaks. Details of Sejer’s investigation are interspersed with scenes from the lives of Emil and of Ida’s grieving family. Fossum follows her successful formula, providing the reader with insight into the victim’s family as well as the suspected and actual criminals, making the story as much about understanding the various characters as about the investigation. Yet this time, the story lacks some of the punch of her previous novels; the identity of the real killer is so clear early on that having Sejer overlook it comes across as an uncharacteristic mistake. At the same time, Sejer’s interrogation of the mute Emil is one of the most superb scenes in crime fiction. Even at less than her best, Fossum’s work is still outstanding. Essential reading for fans of Scandinavian crime fiction. --Jessica Moyer