Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Liza Marklund
Pocket Books, September 2006
432 pages
ISBN: 0743469089

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Annika Bengtzon, the leading character in Liza Marklund's series, is clearly Inspector Kurt Wallander's long-lost cousin. Personal and family unrest tangles with the damp, morose Swedish landscape.

Annika is a newspaper reporter on Kvallspressen. And it's a job that impinges constantly on her home life with partner Thomas and children Ellen and Kalle. So when she's called out on a job just as they're about to leave to spend the Midsummer's Eve holiday with Thomas's parents, it goes down like a lead balloon.

Michelle Carlsson is a big-name TV presenter. She's been spending the shortest night of the year at an isolated manor house with 12 other people during the filming of a prime-time television series. But when Michelle is murdered, Annika's best friend Anne Snapphane is one of those under suspicion.

PRIME TIME is the latest in a series which charts Annika's career in the Swedish press. And it's clearly not been plain sailing for her, either personally or professionally. Marklund has some sharp comments to make about the position of women in Swedish society and the media. One of the ironies is Thomas's mother's laidback attitude to her other son's gay partner, whom she describes as her son-in-law, while disapproving strongly of Annika going out to work.

Not that Annika herself always helps her case. She's a tenacious reporter, but to a British journalist's eyes has some very strange attacks of conscience when it comes to getting a story. And it's interesting to discover that you can in fact defame the dead in Swedish law. I also enjoyed the back room battles for the control of the newspaper.

Annika is at her most tiresome when it comes to her private life. At times I wanted to shake her, and then to tip coffee over whining Thomas! It's like she's two people when it comes to keeping the different parts of her life separate.

The book itself reflects the wet, grim and gritty landscape. There are some interesting if under-drawn characters -- one or two verging on media stereotypes -- whom Annika investigates in the course of her story-gathering.

Marklund's plotting is efficient, even if she does produce the modern-day version of getting everyone together in the drawing room for the denouement! But it's a tribute to her writing skills and to the strength of this series that you stick with her to the bitter end.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, September 2006

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]