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Winter Grave: An Embla Nyström Investigation

Review

Winter Grave: An Embla Nyström Investigation

written by Helene Tursten, translated by Marlaine Delargy

Helene Tursten, best known for her Swedish police procedurals featuring Irene Huss, has continued her series with Embla Nyström, a detective who is interesting and smart. In her second appearance, Embla and her team are trying to solve the disappearances of two children and the murder of a policeman. Clues are hard to come by, but in Tursten’s hands, each event is a major surprise. In addition to her job as a policewoman, Embla is a highly trained hunter and tracker, as well as a Nordic boxing champion.

"[Tursten's] writing is clear and smooth, and is a pleasure to read. The plot is fast moving, and fans of noir will find themselves fully engaged in the puzzle she creates in her storytelling."

The first disappearance is of a little girl on her way home from school. She was observed getting into a car belonging to a mentally challenged teenage boy, Kristoffer Sjöberg. Everyone assumes he killed her, even though he has an alibi. The town is up in arms because he is not arrested immediately. The father of the second missing child, Viggo Andersson, informs the police that his son was playing in the garden with his flashlight and insists that the same teenager was responsible for taking him. Then a policeman is found bludgeoned to death, and the crime leaves very few clues. Later, Kristoffer is severely beaten and is barely alive when he is taken to the hospital, where his aunt sits by his bedside.

The next catastrophe occurs when Olaf Sjöberg, Kristoffer’s father, is burned to death in his son’s auto repair hut. The investigation proves that this tragedy was caused by an accelerant such as gasoline and is ruled to be arson. Both father and son had a passion for cars. They spent many hours tinkering with automobiles and were able to build a reputation based on the quality of their work.

Another theme woven through the narrative is drug trafficking and cocaine use. At first, the police are unaware of this problem. The dealers are very cautious and lie to keep out of prison. But as the story unfolds, clues pile up and have to be put together without getting mixed up with red herrings, of which there are many.

Tursten does a fantastic job limning the characters who populate WINTER GRAVE. Her writing is clear and smooth, and is a pleasure to read. The plot is fast moving, and fans of noir will find themselves fully engaged in the puzzle she creates in her storytelling. The book is translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy, and is a must read for lovers of crime novels that tweak your imagination.

Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on December 20, 2019

Winter Grave: An Embla Nyström Investigation
written by Helene Tursten, translated by Marlaine Delargy

  • Publication Date: December 3, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime
  • ISBN-10: 1641290765
  • ISBN-13: 9781641290760