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by Camilla Lackberg
Harper Collins, February 2009
393 pages
7.99 GBP
ISBN: 0007253923

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Writer Erica Flack is back home, cleaning out her childhood home after her parents died in a fiery car crash. She's working on yet another biography of a female writer, and it's slow going. So she is easily diverted when one of her childhood friends, Alexandra Wijkner, nee Carlgren, is found murdered, sitting frozen in her bathtub. Erica never did understand why she and Alex grew apart; Alex had always been the alpha girl and Erica just figured Alex got tired of her.

Detective Patrik Hedstom is overworked. His boss Superintendent Mellberg is a blowhard with a comb-over from hell sent down from higher up because nobody can stand him. Patrik isn't as quickly convinced that local artist Anders Nilsson is Alex's killer, even though he was her lover. Anders is a drunk, a skanky drunk with amazing talent. He loved Alex, and swears he'd never hurt her. He is amazed when Mellberg informs him Alex was three months pregnant. Certainly by not him. Also not by Alex's husband Henrik, if he is to be believed.

As Patrik investigates, the case just gets messier. Nobody has any idea who Alex's lover was. Alex's family is somehow connected to the local royalty, but the connection is murky and nobody seems interested in clarifying things. Erica and Peter discover they are very attracted to each other, something Peter has hoped for since he was a kid. Erica and Peter both look into Alex's life, in their own fashion and for their own reasons.

THE ICE PRINCESS is definitely a police procedural, so fans of that genre will be pleased. It also overlaps into “cozy” territory, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to fans of that genre. While I found the prose at times to be verbose and very detailed, it didn't detract from the novel. In some ways, all positive, I think THE ICE PRINCESS can be compared to Louise Penny's novels. Both authors explore the secrets of small town life, both make the character of the victim central to the solving of the crime, and both have a clear understanding of what makes people act and react the way they do.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, October 2008

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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