Linkoping, Sweden in the autumn. Jerry Petersson, lawyer and self made IT millionaire, is found murdered in the moat of the castle at Skogsa, which he bought from
the aristocratic Fagelsjo family. The murder will be investigated by an interesting team of detectives, among whom were Zeke Martinsson, whose son earns a fortune in the NHL in North America;Waldemar Ekenberg, who is an old style policeman with a tendency to violence; and Malin Fors, mother of Tove and an alcoholic…..
It all seemed so promising and the blurbs about previous books were gushing so why 501 pages later was I so disappointed. An author owes their readership a good story well told and the reader owes the book their best attention. So perhaps I am partially to blame for not giving this one all my focus, and perhaps I should have started the series at number one and not number three. One blurb calls Malin’s flaws “intriguing and endearing” I found her repetitive moaning about how much she loves her daughter Tove interspersed with her falling down drunk far from endearing. Perhaps I expect better behaviour from a mother than someone like Harry Hole. If that is sexist I plead guilty.
It was the American journalist and short story writer Ambrose Bierce who once reviewed a book saying ” The covers of this book are too far apart”. I wouldn’t be so cruel but there is possibly a good 300 page novel hiding in Autumn Killing’s 501 pages.
I found the author’s technique of using short sentences and switching perspectives unsettling, it was probably meant to be. An idiosyncratic style doesn’t necessarily make a book literature. I quite like stories which switch back and forth, between characters and between time periods, but only when they add something to the plot. In this case the plot was a bit lightweight, and some of the stereotypical characters were far from endearing. We are given pages and pages of the introspective thoughts of every character, even italicised reminisces from the dead. I may be in a minority yet again, but I found it all intensely irritating.
Are we now getting the average Swedish crime novel translated simply because it is Swedish?