Monday, August 25, 2008

If You Like Ruth Rendell...

True mystery lovers desperate for new authors may need to look across the ocean to award winning European authors. For those who like Ruth Rendell and can deal with the more horrific aspects of murder, Henning Mankell and Karin Fossum may be worth a try.

Henning Mankell’s Chief Inspector Kurt Wallander, is a good man and a good inspector determined to fight for truth and justice, but not the American way, the Swedish way. Unlike superman, Wallander, is subject to periods of self-doubt. In other words, he is human and very likable and we are lucky to see his life evolve in this series. He gradually recovers from his divorce and finds a new love, while his daughter grows up, and after many false starts, becomes a policewoman. The plots are suspenseful and intricate and deal with contemporary society with its corruption and scandals.

Karin Fossum may not be well-known in the United States, but in Norway she is considered the Ruth Rendell and P.D. James of that nation. Her books revolve around Inspector Sejer, an aging Norwegian cop, who is devoted to his dog and still grieving for his late wife. Her books are set in quiet, lovely villages, but gradually Inspector Sejer exposes a darker side and the secrets of ordinary people. In Don’t Look Back the residents of a small village turn on each other when a much-loved 15-year-old girl is murdered. The ending is chilling and is recommended for those who like Ruth Rendell.

Reviewed by Heather Lawson, Hernando Public Library

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