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THE GLASS DEVIL
by Helene Tursten and Katarina E Tucker, translator
Soho, April 2008
320 pages
$13.00
ISBN: 1569474893


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

I like Swedish crime fiction. But boy, it's not exactly a bundle of laughs. And Helene Tursten's series featuring Inspector Irene Huss is no exception.

Irene and her colleagues are called in to solve the murder of a pastor, his wife and son in a remote Swedish village. It looks like Satanists are involved, but there are also some faintly strange people involved with the church. And then there's the enigmatic daughter of the murdered family, who seems strangely remote and uncooperative. The enquiries take Irene to London and to Scotland before she can unravel what went on.

I'd heard good things about this series and was very impressed with Tursten's storytelling and careful plotting. I'd more or less guessed whodunit about two-thirds of the way through, as Tursten plays fair with clues. The ending still packs a punch, though.

Tursten's a very accomplished writer, who keeps you hooked, and strikes a good balance between characterisation, setting and plot. I enjoyed the scenes with Irene's family who never threatened to take over the book but who seemed real and rounded characters. And I did smile at her police colleagues, including morose boss Supt Sven Andersson, who seem to have two settings laid-back and comatose!

In many ways not a lot happens in the book in that there's no particular strong sub-plot. And the general atmosphere is gloomy and really rather languid. But Tursten makes us care about Irene, a dogged cop. And there's the added angle of the case taking her to London and then on to Scotland, and it's enjoyable seeing another country and the way police elsewhere work thorough her eyes.

I enjoyed THE GLASS DEVIL thoroughly and shall quite happily go and search out the earlier books in the series.

In case any non-American readers pick up this edition, be warned that it's a particularly American translation by Katarina E Tucker, with dames and chicks popping up in everyday conversation.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, May 2008

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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