Chief Inspector Konrad Sejer heads an increasingly desperate search for a schoolgirl missing from her Norwegian suburb.
Ida Joner is such a perfect daughter that her mother worries about her after she’s 20 minutes late coming home from running an errand. Helga Joner’s fears are deepened by a sense she’s always had that Ida was too good to last. Her sister Ruth phones the police, but even though nearly everyone in Glassverket volunteers to help look for Ida, they can find no trace of her or the yellow bicycle she was riding. As Helga sinks deeper into despair, Fossum cuts away from her to focus on several of her friends and neighbors—Ruth’s teenaged son Tomme, his older friend Willy Oterhals, reclusive cyclist Emil Johannes Mork, his elderly mother—with a gaze so intense that they all look sinister. At length a series of breaks that begin with the discovery of Ida’s bicycle put Sejer and his colleagues on the track of a probable killer. But even after they’ve identified a suspect who almost certainly knows what happened to Ida, it’s by no means certain that they’ll be able to prevent him from retreating into a silence that seems to hang over the entire community like a dark cloud.
Less original than Sejer’s four other cases to have appeared in English translation (The Indian Bride, 2007, etc.), but it’s equally sensitive and compassionate in its handling of the troubled souls on both sides of the law.