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Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Ice Princess. Camilla Lackberg. HarperCollinsPublishers (2009)

An excellent crime story that proceeds at a leisurely pace and with a very large cast. A woman is found frozen in her bath in a small fishing town in Sweden, Erica Falck a writer who is in the town after the death of her parents was a childhood friend of the dead woman, Alexandra. Erica is a writer who is struggling with her current project and finds the idea of writing about the dead woman intriguing. She has never forgotten Alexandra and the sudden way her friendship ended. When it becomes clear that Alexandra has been murdered Erica's curiosity about her grows greater. Patrick Hedstron, the local detective investigating the murder finds his investigation crossing with Erica's in surprising ways.
Camilla Lackberg does not hurry the story in any way, it unfolds at a very deliberate pace with a very large cast being introduced and their actions and thoughts followed. The layers of people's lives that are revealed are carefully woven together to create a wonderful context for the action, the reveals are slowly released and they carefully create a picture of staggering cruelty and selfishness. The calm pacing of the book and the consistently humorous approach to her cast serves to finally underscore the bitter corruption that rests at the heart of the story.
This is a very engaging book, the cast are lively and very well described, they interact with each other very naturally and effectively and the time the author has taken with each of them is very well spent. Camilla Lackberg has a wry and most affectionate eye for the gap between what we want others to think of us and what we are really doing and Erica and Patrick are realised with great warmth. This is very high quality fiction and a superb crime story.

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