The eponymous heroine of Tursten’s debut mystery, Detective Inspector Huss (2003), and her beset colleagues of the Goteborg Violent Crimes Unit are up to their necks in mutilated corpses.
The torso discovered on a lovely local Swedish beach is so horribly cut and slashed that it extends only from the neck to the waist. On one shoulder, however, there’s a possible identifying mark: a skillfully rendered dragon tattoo. It’s this that provides DI Huss with her first worthwhile lead, directing her to Copenhagen, where the Danish cops point her to a sex-shop proprietor who’s appropriated the gorgeous dragon for his own purposes. The Danish police are only too happy to participate as the investigation intensifies. Soon there’s a cluster of mutilated corpses in both cities, obviously the work of a particularly sadistic serial killer. And soon enough, it becomes equally clear to Huss that she’s been singled out for special attention. So she’s worried. But 40-something Huss, a career woman in a man’s world and the hard-pressed mother of adolescent twin daughters, is used to feeling worried while getting on with the business at hand.
Though they take dietary issues much more seriously than their U.S. counterparts—Irene is married to a master chef—these brisk, professional and entertaining Scandinavians would feel right at home in Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct.