Stone Coffin


This week’s reading takes me to central Sweden, to the region round Uppsala, which is the territory of Anne Lindell, Kjell Ericksson’s police detective in Stone Coffin. A woman and her young daughter are found dead at the side of a rural road, victims of a hit and run, and the woman’s husband is missing. He worked for a pharmaceutical research company, and his business partner claims to have no idea why he would disappear. Anne, in the meantime, is trying to decide whether to repair her relationship with her former partner, who lives out in the country, by a lake. She is ambitious, a city cop, while he is happy to be a labourer, and to bring up their sons in peace and quiet. Neither of them has been able to overcome the gap between them and their preferred ways of life, but neither is happy without the other.

The author deals well with the intertwined relationships between the characters, though I wasn’t entirely convinced by the element set in the Dominican Republic. The members of the police force felt real, with a recognisable set of family dilemmas. I had one or two quibbles with the translation (e.g. “buxbom spheres” are “box spheres” – box topiary is well-known in England, but the name of the plant needs translating, and I have no idea what “wiener cousins” are but I’m guessing “foster cousins”?) Ninety-nine per cent of the time this doesn’t read like a translation, so the other one per cent stands out. A not-too-bleak (for a change) Scandinavian detective.



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