In a holiday caravan park on the Swedish island of Gotland a man is shot while jogging early one morning and police are, at first, baffled by the crime. The man owned a successful construction business, had a loving wife and family and seemed a most unlikely candidate for such a grim murder. Both police and the local journalists working on the story have to wade through lots of interviews with the man’s family and associates before any hint of a motive emerges. In fact it’s not until there is a second murder some way into the book that a genuine suspect becomes evident.
While I would like to start every series at the beginning and read them in order, I simply do not have enough hours in my life so I was pleased to see that this book, though fifth of a series, was recommended at Euro Crime as a good entry-point to that series. As always Euro Crime steered me in the right direction as I did not find myself at a disadvantage despite having read none of the earlier books. At the start of this one the investigative team is being led by Karin Jacobssen while her boss, Anders Knutas is on holidays. She is looking forward to heading up her first investigation on her own though nervous enough to ring Knutas and let him know about the murder. This backfires on her as he soon returns from holidays, unable to let the investigation take place without him. This is the source of a well-depicted thread in which Jacobssen worries that Knutas believes her incapable of doing the job and him having to explain his reasons for stepping back in so quickly.
We spend quite a bit of time following this and other personal issues of the various police officers as well as the journalist who is working on the story. Knutas is suffering something of a lull in his marriage and there are some unexpectedly awkward moments between himself and Jacobssen, though these do not resolve as you might expect (a point in the book’s favour). The journalist, who has clearly been involved in early stories, is also experiencing some personal problems as the mother of his daughter has become very distant and this thread provides another point of interest. Even Karin Jacobssen’s own personal history becomes important towards the very end of the story and, like all the other significant characters, she is nicely and believably drawn.
I thought the pointers to the final solution to the mystery were a little bit too obvious to give this element of the novel the highest ratings for suspense, but the plot is perfectly serviceable. It’s all quite logical and flows very well, with a quite absorbing (though ultimately irrelevant) side thread that gently probed the issue of foreign workers in Sweden. Some of the sentiments expressed sounded awfully familiar which made me realise yet again just how many similarities there can be between two apparently different cultures on opposite sides of the globe,
I did thoroughly enjoy this expertly translated and delightfully narrated audio book with thanks to Tiina Nunnally and Simon Shepherd respectively. I am becoming quite enamoured of having translated books read to me as the correct pronunciation of the names of people and places seems to add something to the authentic feel. I will definitely be eager to read the next book of this quietly absorbing series and may even be tempted to go back and read some of the earlier ones (well at least the one I have sitting on my TBR shelves).
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My rating 3.5/5
Translator Tiina Nunnally
Narrator Simon Shepherd
Publisher Random House Audiobooks 
ISBN N/A (downloaded from audible.com)
Length 7 hours 14 minutes
Format audio (mp3)
Book Series #5 in the Anders Knutas series
Source I bought it