Posted: January 7, 2012 in review, Scandinavia, Sweden

A young woman’s body surfaces in the River Torne near Kiruna in the far north of Sweden, and Police Inspector Anna-Maria Mella and prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson begin an investigation suspecting that local bully boys Tore and Hjalmar Krekula are somehow involved. This is one of those stories where the reader is given more information than the investigators. Some of this comes from the supernatural, and some from a series of back stories about the characters. These are beautifully integrated into the narrative, and show how back stories that are well done can be a vital weapon in an author’s armory.

If the supernatural element is inclined to put you off reading the book, don’t be, it is not intrusive and adds to the brooding atmosphere of the story. 

The tales of the past lives of people in this remote area of Sweden and their difficult relationships are woven into what is really a simple plot. The two main characters of this series may be Anna-Maria Mella, with her four young children and her fiery relationship with her subordinate Sven-Erik, and Rebecka Martinsson, with her on-off relationship with lover Mans Wenngren, but in this tale we learn a lot about the lives of some old-timers in the villages as well as Sweden’s contentious wartime relationship with the Nazis. It is the stories of life in the villages and the problems people face in the harsh environment that make this book so interesting.

“There are hardly any young people left in the village. Just us old-timers. The children live in Kiruna or somewhere in the south. They argue among themselves about who’s going to look after the houses they’ve inherited from their parents.” 

Until Thy Wrath is Past is an unusual book, which I found refreshingly different and very thought provoking, it is well worth reading. 

You can read Maxine’s review of Until Thy Wrath Be Past at Euro Crime.  

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Norman – Thanks for an excellent review. I’m glad you liked this; I’m a fan of this series, so I was very pleased to see that you enjoyed this one, too :-). I really do like the way that Larsson weaves a sense of place into her novels.

  2. Norman Price says:

    Margot- I agree about the sense of place all that supernatural stuff and the religious overtones wouldn’t work if the books were set in Southern England.

  3. Maxine says:

    Very glad you liked this book, Norman, and thanks so much for mentioning my review. I wish it had not been so long (necessarily) since I read the previous book, as I could not remember what Anna-Maria and Sven-Erik had fallen out about.

  4. kathy d. says:

    I might not have read this book if it hadn’t been for the Petrona review and one or two others. Since I really do not like supernatural elements in books, it took me awhile to figure out that I should try it. (Also, I nearly got PTSD after reading about the traumas suffered by the main character in the first two books in the series, and then the over-the-top denouement in the third book.)

    However, I’m very glad I read it. It was very well-written, sensitive and informative to me about Sweden’s role in WWII. I liked several of the characters, too, in addition to the main two women protagonists.

  5. Norman says:

    I had only read The Black Path a few years ago, I had also forgotten what happened, and would not have read this but for the fact knowledgeable bloggers picked it a potential International Dagger shortlist nominee. Then the first in the series was given to me as a present so once again reading a series out of order reading will feature some time in the future.

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