A startling sight during a relaxing summer.
The coastal town in Varberg, Sweden is not used to this. A helpful, friendly piano teacher found hung. Strung up in a tree next to the local campsite.
The lack of evidence is concerning.
Often nonchalant Magnus Markusson and his quirky team are without much evidence. With all of them having their own issues to contend with, this case presents a real challenge.
A cold case from the other side of the country.
An unsolved case from a town right on the other side of Sweden has striking similarities. How can a case from so far away tie into the Varberg teams current one?
The wrong angle.
Another body is found close to where the piano teacher was found, but killed in a totally different way. Magnus is convinced they are missing something. With a sophisticated killer and very little time, things are headed down a dangerous road...
Written in more of a narrative style, it took me a little reading to get in sync with this story, however once I did, I can easily say this was one of the most entertaining murder mysteries I’ve read in a long while. I did not want to put it down. The author does a fabulous job developing the characters that comprise the members of Magnus’s detective squad. Each, including Magnus himself, has their own interesting backstory that builds throughout the book. Magnus, clearly on the brink of retirement, still keeps his hand in the active cases but, unlike most detectives you commonly read about, he takes time out of his day for a nap or a book break or an afternoon here and there for gambling or tennis with one of his buddies. It does seem to rejuvenate him and allow him to tackle the big questions in cases, and he is known for getting results. He has a lovely relationship with his wife, Lena, which is (and this is pointed out), unusual in his line of work (and in this genre.) And he loves dogs … adding to his pack at home as he finds a pooch in need. He has a non-existent relationship with his one and only son, Sebastian, which is an underlying heartbreak for him and his wife.
Like Magnus, the complex identities of his squad members, victims, and witnesses slowly unfold, demonstrating perhaps one of the themes of the book that “we all have our problems and by always pushing forwards, we can overcome them.” The squad members all deal together quite well and advance the investigation with good, solid police work.
I enjoyed the setting of Varsberg, and reading the little tidbits of regular life that the author slips in: shopping, new-to-me products and organizations, “Taco Friday” which is apparently a thing in Sweden.
The action moves forward at an understandable pace with some quite detailed detective work going on, some fruitful, some not, really showing the highs and lows of a complex case. I wanted to keep reading and not put the story down but it does come to an exciting conclusion with some clear surprises. With a teaser ending, I will definitely be watching out for the next book in the series. I recommend this book to mystery readers that enjoy a this type of slow-burner or mysteries with Scandinavian settings or those that enjoy a particularly well-rounded cast of quirky characters. I am so glad to have run across this author and book.
I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a free copy.
I love to read and hook up others with books that they might enjoy. I like genre fiction with a weakness for cozies, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and westerns. My professional background is in law enforcement, fire, water, and environmental education. I have basset hounds and ham radio is a hobby.