Inspector Erik Winter (Death Angels, 2009. etc.) tackles the murder of a woman who was scarcely more substantial in life than death.
As fans of Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell know, Sweden is crawling with violent criminals. The summer of 1997, as “we’re headed toward the end of the century, and the end of the world as we know it,” is marked in Gothenburg by a feud between rival drug gangs and a bus hijacking that explodes in a hail of gunfire. But the biggest case for Winter and his homicide squad is the quietest. The body of a woman has been discovered at the edge of Delsjö Lake. There’s no indication of who she is, where she came from or what she was doing before someone strangled her. The only clue is the indication that she was once pregnant. As Winter and his colleagues begin their patient, months-long investigation, readers already know more. They know that the woman was killed in the commission of a crime; they know that she was survived by her young daughter, who’s been carried off; and they know that one of her neighbors has finally noticed her absence and begun to make a fuss. Even after he succeeds in putting a name to the body, Winter, wrestling with the demands of his longtime lover Angela for greater commitment, feels that his work is just beginning. If only he knew.
An expert melding of sociological observation and psychological acuity. The criminals, introduced late in the story, are especially gripping.