One-hundred-and-fifty years of dark doings come to a head in a Christmas Eve whiteout on the Swedish island of Öland.
For the first seven years of their marriage, Joakim and Katrine Westin have leapfrogged from one fixer-upper to the next, refurbishing each one before selling it and moving on to the next. But the manor house in magnificently desolate Eel Point feels as if it may be their final destination. And so it is for Katrine, who’s drowned while Joakim is back in Stockholm packing up the last of their things. Rookie police officer Tilda Davidsson finds it hard to believe that Katrine went out in the cold after lunch and simply fell or jumped into the icy sea, but there’s no evidence to support her suspicion of murder. A series of audiotaped interviews with her great-uncle Gerlof, however, adds further layers to the blasted history of Eel Point, which a series of flashbacks indicates has been cursed ever since the house was built from timbers salvaged from an 1846 shipwreck. Katrine’s own family, including her painter mother and her famous painter grandmother, is particularly troubled. No wonder the place is home to a good deal of other suspicious behavior, from a series of wantonly destructive burglaries in the neighborhood to Katrine’s spooky posthumous visitations to Joakim and their children.
The Swedish landscape Theorin (Echoes from the Dead, 2008) presents as if in an endless single breath is as bleak as Henning Mankell’s, but a lot more eventful.