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Monday, February 7, 2011

Don't look Back. Karin Fossum. Felicity David (Translator) Harcourt Books (2002)

A very engaging police procedural murder mystery set in a small Norwegian village. A girl is found on the edge of a lake, it is established that she has been murdered. The girl was well liked within the small village she came from and no obvious motives are apparent for the crime. Inspector Sejer quietly and steadily probes the life of the victim and the lives of those who knew her to find out who killed the girl and why. The pace is deliberate, the investigation is pursued in a logical, thoughtful fashion as the repercussions of the death are felt by the people who knew Annie. The reveals are carefully staged and the conclusion is surprising, credible and satisfying.
The large and engaging cast are well developed and strongly individual, they respond to the crime and the investigation in interesting ways.Inspector Sejer is quietly determined, conscious of the impact of the crime and needful of the need to press forward to find the truth. The twin narratives that moves from the investigation to the rest of the cast that knew Annie in some way is handled with care and subtly, the force of the investigation is as disconcerting as the crime itself.
The central mystery that drives the plot is very carefully constructed, it drives the story with a quiet force. Without overwhelming the cast it provides an effective context for their actions and the investigation. the victim is very clearly a presence in the story, her death gives her a greater presence in the lives of the cast. Karin Fossum weaves a very enjoyably tangled web about her cast that happily ensnares the reader as well. A pleasure.

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