Karin Fossum’s Inspector Sejer: Next three Sunday, Jun 26 2011 

As promised, here are the next three Konrad Sejer novels in Norwegian author Karin Fossum’s addicting series. The dates shown are the US translation publication dates. As of this date, there are two new Sejer’s in the wings:

2010’s Bad Intentions will be available in the US this August. 2011’s The Caller does not have its US publications date yet. I’m sure down the road this blog will have those reviews of this series that continues to delight, as Fossum has the patient and kind Sejer dissect crime in Norway’s tiny rural towns.

2007 The Indian Bride: In one of Fossum’s characteristic moves, she takes us inside the mind and life of bachelor Gunder Jomann, a man of simple means who never spends money on himself. So when he travels to India, he raises a few eyebrows; and when he comes back a married man, even more. Jomann returns alone to prepare for the arrival of his bride. As the buildup to this day looms for him, his sister’s car accident will bring forth a series of horrific events, as the villagers of his small town of Elvestad are stunned when a woman’s battered body is found in a field on his wife’s arrival day.

The town’s inhabitants all come under close scrutiny by Sejer and his colleague Skarre. Everyone has a secret to protect, from the young woman who is a key witness to the owner of a local shop. It is up to Sejer to decide whose secret led to a horrific murder. With her usual care for getting inside the heads and psyches of her characters, Fossum has written another one that will keep you turning pages at night.

Next up is Black Seconds, which also came to the US in 2007. The story opens with an ordinary day, when almost-ten year old Ida Joner setting off on her brand-new bicycle into town. Then the girl vanishes without a trace. Hundreds of volunteers comb the neighborhood, searching for the little girl, and the media is whipped into a frenzy. It takes the calm reassurance and clear thinking of Konrad Sejer to find the answer to this puzzling case.

Quietly unnerving, Black Seconds illustrates how the disappearance of a child can affect a small village as much as any terrorist or serial killer.

2009’s Water’s Edge is the last case for Sejer I can review at this date.

A young married couple, Kristine and Reinhardt Ris, set out for a Sunday walk in the woods. What could be more normal? Until they stumble on the body of a young boy, just as they see a man limping away. To make matters worse, as the couple await the arrival of the police, Reinhardt takes multiple pictures of the dead boy’s body.

While Sejer makes his inquiries, he delves into the stories of the people in the town and those who knew the dead boy. Then another boy disappears without explanation, and the Ris’s marriage begins to disintegrate.

Fossum’s novels are like M&M’s: you can’t read just one. In places the syntax is evocative of the Norwegian of their origin, and this adds to the flavor of this series. I will be anxiously awaiting the August arrival of the next installment.

Portobello Sunday, Jun 19 2011 

Ruth Rendell is a writer whose awards alone make any writer drool: Three Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America; three Gold Daggers, a Silver Dagger, and even a Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre from England’s prestigious Crime Writers’ Association. Considered a national treasure, she’s a member of the House of Lords, and also happens to be a good friend of my idol, P. D. James. I’ve written before about her Chief Inspector Wexford series and her other stand-alones. This newest takes us inside the Portobello section of London, home to a street market since 1927. “Those who love and those who barely know it have called it the worlds’ finest street market” Rendell tells us in the opening as she describes its history. Remember the Julia Roberts/Hugh Grant movie “Notting Hill?” This is that neighborhood, in all its seedy glory.

The theme here is obssession. The thread of the story weaves through the lives of several people the reader will come to know intimately and psychologically.

A wealthy bachelor, art dealer Eugene Wren discovers an envelope on the street as he walks to his shop. Bulging with cash, Wren’s plan to find the rightful owner eventually has  extraordinary consequences. Struggling with a ridiculous addiction that shames him, Wren’s actions start a chain of events that link him with other people who struggle with their own obsessions. Wren’s fiance’, a lovely physician, struggles to take care of several patients whose oddities and obsessions intrigue and repel her at the same time. An unrepentant thief appears to get away with the theft of his career but is accused of a murder he didn’t commit. Religious fanatics appear as a subplot. The characters are convincing and highly original. On the other hand, we can identify with most of their oddities, something that makes Rendell a universal writer.

If you think these disparate themes cannot be brought together, you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Ruth Rendell. With her accessible prose, Rendell manages to make escalating madness appear clear and rational.

Karin Fossum Sunday, Jun 12 2011 

First things first: I have to credit Florida writer Glynn Marsh Alam, creator of the Luanne Fogarty Mysteries, with turning me on to Norwegian writer Karin Fossum. I met Glynn at the Cape Fear Crime Festival and we shared our favorite authors. Once I started on Fossum’s Inspector Sejer series, I gobbled them up, and I promise, you will, too.

Fossum has written poetry and general fiction but her award-winning crime novels have now been translated into sixteen languages. Her inspector has been dubbed “the Morse of the fjords” as he uses his intellect, reasoning, and knowledge of human nature to solve the crimes that fall across his path. Fossum’s coastal Norwegian settings and small villages are brought to life, but the novels are character-driven, as she displays an understanding of the psychology of her characters, as does Sejer, and writes from the points of view of all the main participants. For some reason, two of the Sejer novels remain untranslated, but the publication dates I’ll give you are the US editions. Today’s blog will cover the first three. While you can read them and enjoy them in any order, you follow the trajectory of Sejer’s personal life if you read them in order. He is extremely likableand appealing, conflicted in veryhuman ways, and very fond of his huge Leonberger, Kollberg.

2002 Don’t Look Back:    This novel won both The Riverton Prize and the Glass Key for Best Nordic Detective Novel.

In a rural village such as the ones most of Fossum’s characters inhabit, a young child, Ragnhild, goes missing. The frantic search for her reveals the naked, dead body of a well-known and well-liked schoolgirl. Annie often babysat for most of the families on her road; she was strong and intelligent.  Investigating her untimely death are Inspector Konrad Sejer and his colleague Jacob Skorre, both likable, but distinctly different. As he investigates, Sejer uncovers layers of distrust that run through the village. From page one, Fossum has the reader hooked with a tension that never lets up. Annie is drawn for Sejer in the words of the people he interviews. He tried to reconstruct the murder by retracing Annie’s last moments and chillingly succeeds. The book is filled with the crisscrossed stories that maintain the tension, as the patient Sejer unravels the stories and red herrings of people’s secrets with the ones that lead to Annie’s murderer.

2003 Hear Who Fears the Wolf:           Errki is a schizophrenic who escapes from a mental institution and is seen in the area when the horrifically murdered body of elderly widow Halldis Horn is found on her doorstep.

A young obese boy who lives in a nearby group home find the body and alerts the police. The case swings into action just as Sejer is literally thrust into the middle of a bank robbery with a hostage taken that  same morning. Trying not to be sidetracked by the hostage situation, Sejer and Skarre begin to track down both criminals. As he searches for these strange criminals, Sejer comes up against small-town prejudices that twist every version of the information he seeks to collect. Fossum’s gives the reader extraordinary insight into the psychologically warped mind and the lives which have been marginalized because of it. She is every bit as good as getting inside the psyche of children or adults.

2004 When the Devil Holds the Candle: 

This novel won the Gumshoe Award for Best European Crime Novel.

Two teenaged punks steal a young mother’s purse with dramatic and unforeseen consequences. The events they set into action tie what at first appear to be loose threads and unrelated perspectives, but are skillfully woven in Fossum’s hands.

When one of the delinquent’s disappears, Sejer doesn’t immediately connect the two crimes. The chilling and awful truth unfolds inside an old woman’s home. Fossum has Sejer do his usual digging beneath the surface of the quiet life in the small towns she features in her novels. It is to her credit that she understands how chillingly violence destroys everyday life, and that she is able to bring these places and these characters to life.

In subsequent blog I’ll discuss the next 3 Sejer novels available in the US, but don’t wait! Get started now on a series you’ll find impossible to put down.

I’ll Walk Alone Sunday, Jun 5 2011 

Mary Higgins Clark’s newest fits her traditional pattern: readers know the hero and heroine, don’t ever doubt they’ll somehow find their way to each other, despite the odds the author throws in their pathway. Readers know exactly what they’re getting when they pick up one of her books, which is exactly Clark’s reason for continued popularity.

Still, it’s not the way her books will turn out that keep readers in droves flocking back; it’s the obstacles and plot she comes up with, the familiar and realistic New York setting, and the look at the way some people get to live their lives. Clark pointed this out in a recent Wall Street Journal interview, where she felt her detractors claims of ‘formulaic’ fiction don’t understand her audience the way she does. Why change a pattern that has been shown readers adore? she noted. Why indeed? I’ll Walk Alone is her 37th novel to hit the best selling lists, not counting the 5 she’s written with her daughter Carol.

This time identity theft plays a part in the life of interior decorator Zan Moreland. Still reeling from the kidnapping of her son, Matthew, two years before, Zan is a gifted designer on the brink of a huge career break when she discovers someone is using her credit cards and manipulating her bank accounts to destroy her reputation.

Clark ratchets up the heat when she adds kidnapping and murder to the perpetrator’s brutal crimes. Then on what would be Matthew’s fifth birthday, photo’s emerge of what seem to show Zan kidnapping her own child. Plot twists tell Zan someone has literally stolen her identity, down to ordering the clothing she wears.

The press is baying, her ex-husband is attacking her, and the police think she’s a schizophrenic kidnapper–Zan certainly has lot on her plate, in true Clark style. I’ll let you spot the hero for yourselves. For brain candy that you know will have the heroine triumphing, no one is better than Mary Higgins Clark.

Tag, You’re IT~ Friday, Jun 3 2011 

 I was just tagged by Nancy Lauzon, author of two Chick Dick mysteries. Here goes:

Do you think you’re hot?
I’m warmblooded and always want the fan on. Otherwise, I’m only hot to Doc, and he needs glasses~

Upload a picture or wallpaper that you’re using at the moment.
 
This is Radar, our just-turned 4 Italian Spinone. A clown and a gentle heart for such a big boy at 125 lbs.
When was the last time you ate chicken meat?
Yesterday’s lunch,  as a matter of fact.
The song(s) you listened to recently.

Chet Baker, “Songs for Lovers” CD. Love my Chet.


What you’re thinking as you’re doing this.

That I need to be packing up for Seattle instead of playing on my laptop.


Do you have nicknames? What are they?

Marni (real name Marnette), Nana, Mum and Honey.


Tag 8 Blogger Friends

1. Maggie Mendus

2. Green Girl in Wisconsin
3. Jen on the Edge
4. Tia Bach
5. Millie Wonka
6. Dorothy St. James
7.Connie’s Reviews
8.Beth Groundwater
Who’s listed as Number One?
Maggie Mendus, a poet and writer with a great viewpoint on what’s important in this world.

Say something about Number Five.

Millie is part of my Writers Read group and one of the funniest writers I know.
How did you get to know Number Three?
From the blog Eco Women, which I write for once a month on pets. She and and Mel Westermeier started this blog to bring home ideas on how to incorporate a greener, more organic life into your every day.Their following is amazing and they have great ideas for us.
How about Number Four?

Tia and her mom, Angela Silverthorne, wrote the book Depression Cookies, in two voices. A great read, and Tia is the ultimate marketing person. I’m in awe of her talents for making things happen.

Leave a message for Number Six.

Dorothy is the author of Flowerbed of State and I want to send her kudos for this unique mystery written with the White House gardener as a character.

Leave a lovey dovey message for Number Two. 

Mel, you are my go-to person for so many things in so many areas and I love you as a friend and as a writer. Can t believe I get to meet your Bachelors soon!


Do Number Seven and Eight have any similarities?

They’re both female, both writers, both have blogs, both adore mysteries: Connie writes about them and Beth comes up with some zingers! Check out their blogs and books!

Your turn to play TAG!

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Eco Women: Protectors of the Planet!

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The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ― Carl Sagan

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

Make

make Your House a home

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

Wicked Cozy Authors

Mysteries with a New England Accent

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Author and reviewer of period crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

BOOK SHELF

"Tell me and I forget-Show me and I remember-Involve me and I learn"

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

forensics4fiction

Forensics demystified for the fiction writer

milliewonka

Just another WordPress.com site

Eco Women: Protectors of the Planet!

Saving the planet one day at a time.