From Publishers Weekly
Fossum may not be well-known outside a select circle, but that could change with the publication of this outstanding contemporary police procedural, the fourth Inspector Sejer mystery to be translated into English (after 2006's He Who Fears the Wolf
). Insp. Konrad Sejer is faced with a baffling crime when the battered body of a woman surfaces in a field outside the town of Elvestad. She's soon identified as Poona Jomann, the new wife of Gunder Jomann, who traveled to India in search of a life partner. Gunder's sister's injury in an auto accident kept him from meeting his bride at the airport, leaving her to travel to their new home alone, a journey that ended in murder. With a skill few can equal, Fossum deftly paints the provincial inhabitants of Elvestad, coupling those poignant word portraits with a whodunit and an insightful but fallible detective. The ending is not one most readers will expect, but it perfectly suits the tale of sad, little lives and the tragic consequences of chance. (July)
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*Starred Review* Over the course of a few days, Norwegian bachelor Gunder Jomann experiences both euphoria and utter despair. In India, he meets and marries Poona, the woman of his dreams. He returns to his tiny village of Elvestad, with his new bride scheduled to arrive in a matter of weeks. A family emergency delays Gunder on the day Poona arrives. Tragedy ensues before they can reconnect; she is found brutally murdered less than a mile from her new husband's house. Who in tranquil Elvestad could commit such a heinous act? Shy, contemplative Chief Inspector Konrad Sejer knows that evil lurks deep within even the most seemingly innocent souls. With his baby-faced partner, Jacob Skarre, he methodically follows but a handful of clues. As time passes, the list of suspicious characters grows. There's muscle-bound Goran, whose affable manner belies his might; local café owner Einar, who harbors a general dislike for humankind; and Linda, an attention-starved teenager who dispenses half-truths and lies. This fourth in the Inspector Sejer series showcases the crisp prose and unsettling scenarios that have made Fossum (When the Devil Holds the Candle, 2006) one of Europe's most successful crime novelists. Like a Scandinavian winter, this potent psychological thriller chills right to the bone. Block, Allison