HARPERCOLLINS, £18.99 Order for £17.09 (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 03
The Stone Cutter, By Camilla Läckberg
Ice queen still chilling the blood
Monday 22 March 2010
At the age of 36, Camilla Läckberg is probably the hottest female writer in Sweden at the moment. Her novels – all set in the coastal town of Fjällbacka (her birthplace) – are Scandinavian bestsellers. Even her private life is of interest. Her recent divorce was exhaustively covered by the Swedish tabloids.
Läckberg's first novel (of seven) to reach the UK was The Ice Princess (2002). It refracted elements of Agatha Christie through a hyperboreal Nordic sensibility, with a women's body frozen solid in a bath of ice. Detective Patrik Hedström, who figured in that book, makes a welcome return in The Stone Cutter.
One of the reasons for the success of Scandinavian crime fiction in this country is its unsentimental readiness to confront the less admirable aspects of human behaviour. Here, Läckberg's stamping ground of Fjällbacka is the scene of a small tragedy: the body of a little girl is found in a fisherman's net. Has she drowned accidentally? A post-mortem suggests otherwise, and Hedström, the isolated resort's copper, has the unenviable task of tracking down the murderer of a child both he and his partner, Erica, had met.
Patrik's objectivity is coloured as he himself has recently become a father, but he continues with an investigation troubling for both him and his cloistered society. He has to make a community accept unpalatable truths about itself as well as bring to justice a cold-blooded killer.
Läckberg's job is to make the reader pleasurably uncomfortable - one of her ironclad skills. This latest novel (translated by Steven T Murray) adds another level cannily designed to unsettle us: a measured examination of the elements of determinism in human nature, and the readiness to cut loose moral restraint when passionately held desires are frustrated. There is also a lacerating picture of an unrestrained female psyche, both attractive and monstrous. Läckberg may be of little interest to the more salacious British tabloids, but she should be firmly in the consciousness of the readers of this newspaper.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What if 35 Palestinians had died, and 800 Israelis?
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 5 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
Led Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
New film Old Fashioned is 50 Shades of Grey for Christians, claims its creator
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Freddie Prinze Jr on 24: 'Kiefer Sutherland was the most unprofessional dude in the world – I hated every moment of it'
Coolio has sold his soul to Pornhub
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- < Previous
- Next >