Mari Jungstedt,
Killer's Art
(Stockholm Text, 2010)

On a cold Sunday morning, art gallery owner Egon Wallin is found hanging from a gate on the ring wall of Visby, Sweden's best preserved medieval town on the island of Gotland.

The murder of the prominent art dealer shocks residents of the town and perplexes police who see no apparent motive. The mystery deepens as investigators discover Wallin, to the surprise of his wife and employees, has sold the gallery, filed for divorce and was planning a move to Stockholm. A hoard of stolen artworks in his storage rooms adds to the puzzle.

Tension mounts as the killer stalks other potential victims and steals one of the most famous paintings in Sweden, making his escape on ice skates.

Just as you think you know where the plot is headed, author Mari Jungstedt throws in another surprise and a reason to keep turning pages. The conclusion neatly wraps things up in a satisfying manner.

In addition to the central mystery, the novel explores the complicated relationships between Detective Superintendent Anders Knutas and his friend, journalist Johan Berg; Knutas and his colleague, Detective Inspector Karin Jacobsson; and Berg and his lover, Emma Winarve.

This is actually the fourth in Jungstedt's series but only the second of 10 novels to be translated for American readers. It's unclear why the publisher hasn't done them in order, which might have made some things more clear to readers.

If you're a fan of Nordic noir, this is an interesting addition to the list of authors to watch.

book review by
John Lindermuth

2 November 2013

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