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Detective Inspector Huss Hardcover – July 1, 2003

3.8 out of 5 stars 174 customer reviews
Book 1 of 7 in the Inspector Huss Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This intriguing police procedural from Swedish author Tursten, the first in a new series, augurs well for the future exploits of its heroine, a sympathetic 40-something detective attempting to juggle a demanding job and her family life. Irene Huss of the Violent Crimes Unit plunges into a complex and high-stakes investigation when Richard von Knecht, one of G"teborg's leading citizens and a Trump-like tycoon, apparently takes a suicidal plunge off his apartment balcony, practically before the eyes of his wife and son. Evidence that von Knecht was murdered soon surfaces, and a sensitive inquiry into the life and background of the victim begins. After someone bombs Von Knecht's offices, claiming two lives, Huss and her colleagues find themselves delving into Sweden's seamy underworld of drug dealers and motorcycle gangs. Remarkably, there's little about the mystery, the characters' personalities and motivations or the police approach to solving the crimes that couldn't easily be transposed to a contemporary American setting. Huss herself is an entirely plausible creation-smart, competent, but fallible-and the exchanges between the various police officers with whom she works help define them as three-dimensional as well. Through solid, patient police work, the good guys catch the murderer, whose identity, while not a total surprise, provides a nice narrative twist.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Goteborg, Sweden, is the setting for this first in a promising series starring Irene Huss, detective inspector in a police force not yet comfortable with women officers. When the apparent suicide of a businessman turns out to be murder, Huss and her colleagues follow a tangled trail that takes them from the haunts of the ostentatiously wealthy to the underworld of drug-dealing biker gangs. The mystery itself is mostly routine, but the overview of Swedish society, its liberal foundation cracked by racism, drugs, and a new wave of vicious crime, forms a compelling backdrop for the story, drawing on the same tensions that fuel Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series. Wallander is considerably more world weary than Huss, but the younger feminist investigator brings her own set of complexities to the table, as she feels her own family endangered by the same forces that threaten society. Translator Murray's feel for nuance, notable in his renderings of several Mankell novels, is equally evident here. Another winner in what is becoming a golden age of European procedurals. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime; First Edition edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156947303X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569473030
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,395,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Fans of Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series will be delighted with this first entry in fellow Swede Tursten's procedural series. Set in Goteborg, the book stars Det. Inspector Irene Huss and her colleagues in the Violent Crimes Unit as they investigate the murder of a prominent and very wealthy businessman. Like John Harvey's Charlie Resnick series, the story's about both the crime and the lives of those investigating it, with similarly satisfying results. The crime itself is an exceedingly tangled one, with loads of suspects, a locked door, and many complications and other crimes cropping up as the story progresses. That said, the primary culprit can be guessed almost right from the start, even if the motive and method for the murder cannot. A great deal of the novel's success is attributable to Tursten's detailed step-by-step rendering of the patient police work that leads to the resolution.
The rich and famous milieux of the murder is nothing notably new, nor is the connection to a sleazier world of drugs and sex. However, one thing that American readers may not quite understand is the role of motorcycle gangs in Scandinavia. In the US, the image of the Hell's Angels have been considerably softened to one of benign oversized 50-somethings cruising around on expensive bikes in a now-benign subculture. However, in Scandinavia (and Canada, see John Farrow's thriller City of Ice), the Hell's Angels and other motorcycle gangs are directly involved in high-level drug trafficking and violent crime.
Although the crime and its unraveling could be transposed to a US setting without a great deal of difficulty, the book has much to offer. Most importantly, the characters, from the police to suspects and witnesses, all are exceedingly well-drawn and believable. Det. Insp.
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I really got into this story about a woman police detective in Goteborg, Sweden. This is not a lightweight mystery that comes to the conclusion that X killed Y. There are complex relationships between the characters, a lot of interrelated violent crimes, and motives that are not at all apparent at the start. The book pulls the reader right in by having a wealthy prominent man fall to his death from a high-rise balcony, landing in the street where his wife and son have just parked the car. The net of people involved continually widens, and the action doesnt stop. Some subplots running through the book add to the story (rather than distracting readers, as some authors do). The most interesting for me was the main character's having to handle her 13-year-old daughter becoming seriously involved with a group of neo-Nazis. The details of family and departmental relationships add a sense of reality. The one criticism I had was that the main character's husband was too perfect to be real. I thought it may have been more interesting if she had been divorced, raising the kids on her own. This would leave the possibility open for some romantic involvement. Apart from that, I did get the feeling of having been to Sweden when I finished the story. I highly recommend this book.
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Soho Press must've held a book-naming contest and given the prize to the most-generic, least-offensive name. Roughly translated, the book's original title is "The Broken Tang Horse," which explains why several parts of the plot (including the mention of the artifact itself) are highlighted to give the title its full meaning. And putting "Sweden's Prime Suspect" on the cover?

Apart from the inane title for the English translation, the book is good in the vein of the team-effort Swedish police procedurals, although the viewpoint really belongs to Detective Inspector Irene Huss and Detective Superintendent Sven Andersson. (Most of the book revolves around Huss.) There's probably a few subplots too many with the daughter's flirtation with skinheads, or a husband who seems to be more of a "I'm cooking, let's eat!" guy, or the sexist office drama that never seem to show up with Kurt Wallander's gang down in Ystad. However, it's a good plot that develops a group of characters we'll hopefully see again with translations of Tursten's other books. (There are five more.)
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While the story is good and the character moderately interesting, the translation is amateurish and clunks so badly with such a poor grasp of colloquial english that it is very difficult to read. This is the first time I have really seen a bad translation wreck an otherwise (potentially) good story.
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I'll blame the translator. Huge fan of northern European detective fiction - Mankel, Nesbo, Larson, et al. - so ordered Tursten's book. Not even close to the others, partly because of what I assume is a terrible translation - sorry but the words "slammer" and "consolingly" don't fit in the same sentence. The translation veers between slang and Henry James - and not for any particular reason - Steven Murray just does not have the "flow" that other translators have. Too bad as for Huss, she is an OK character, although her reflections on her life are rather cliched. Her observations and ruminations lack something that other writers from northern Europe seem to have found. I've moved on to Iceland and Indridason who is right there with the best. As for Tursten and Huss, go to the library and read a few pages/chapters before investing.
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