lørdag den 9. maj 2009

Helene Tursten, Manden med det lille ansigt (2007)

Svensk krimi, den syvende i serien om kriminalinspektør Irene Huss.

To unge mænd stjæler en bil og ræser af sted; under deres vilde flugt dræber de en fodgænger. De smider bilen fra sig i en skov og stikker ild til den. Under eftersøgningen finder politiet liget af en teenage-pige i et udhus. Tilsyneladende var pigen død inden de unge nåede ud til huset, så hvad er sammenhængen – hvis der er nogen?

Da det viser sig, at offeret for flugtbilisten er pensioneret kriminalbetjent går det rutinerede politi-team i højeste gear. Undervejs får de opdateret deres viden om trafficking, som er et forholdsvist nyt fænomen i Göteborg. Den svenske del af denne krimi fungerer udmærket, men trafficking-sporet fører Irene Huss til Tenerife hvor hun kommer ud i et noget utroligt samarbejde med det spanske politi. Et mere kulørt end egentligt interessant afsnit af bogen, som efter min mening ville have stået stærkere uden.

Bogen giver også et nyt indblik i Irene Huss´ liv, både som travl kriminalinspektør, hvor hun er kompetent og ligevægtig, og i privatlivet som hustru til kokken Krister og mor til de nogenlunde voksne tvillinger Jenny og Katarina. Irene oplever som regel god opbakning på hjemmefronten, men familien har tidligere været igennem hele møllen med problemer omkring teenage-børn, to karrierer og samliv. Og netop som tilværelsen begynder at blive lidt mere overskuelig, fordi tvillingerne er på vej hjemmefra, begynder Irenes mor for alvor at blive gammel og skrøbelig.

Helene Tursten, The Man with the Little Face
This Swedish crime novel has not been translated into English, but may be so later. It is the seventh in the series about Detective Inspector Irene Huss.

Two young men steal a car and rush off, and during their mindless escape they kill a pedestrian. They abandon the car outside town and set fire to it. While searching for the hit-and-run thieves, the police find the body of a young teenage girl in an outbuilding. She must have been dead before the young men reached the place so what is the connection between these crimes – if there is any?

As it turns out that the pedestrian was a former member of the CID, the police work shifts into a higher gear. En route they learn quite a bit about trafficking which is still a relatively new phenomenon in Gothenburg. The Swedish part of this plot works well, but the trafficking link leads Irene Huss to Tenerife where she is involved in a somewhat amazing cooperation with the Spanish police. A more gaudy than really interesting part of the plot which – in my humble opinion – could very well have been left out.

Furthermore the story offers new insight in the life of Irene Huss, in her capacity as a busy, but competent and equable detective inspector, as well as her private life with Krister the cook and their just about grown twins Jenny and Katarina. As a rule the family support Irene and her career, but the family has been through the whole lot with teenagers, two careers and very little time together. And now when things seem to be changing for the better with the twins moving away from home, Irene´s mother shows sign of growing old and fragile.

7 kommentarer:

maxine sagde ...

Interesting to read this review, having enjoyed the three that are (so far) translated into English very much. Unfortunately I gather there are no active plans to translate any more so we may never be able to read this one. I'm also interested in what you say about Tenerife - in the Glass Devil there is a long section when Irene goes to England (very touristic), and in The Torso she goes to Denmark. I wonder if part of the angle of this series is that the main character gets to go to a different country in each, so that readers can get a flavour of these exotic places like England and Denmark ;-) ?

Dorte H sagde ...

Maxine, I have probably read four or five before this one, and on the whole seen them as first class crime fiction. So I was a bit disappointed. Max three stars of five, I´d say. And - no further spoilers - but I don´t think it has been sponsored by the tourist association of Tenerife! I can see one might call it exotic, though :O

Cathy sagde ...

Thanks for reminding me that I have The Glass Devil sitting on my TBR shelves!

Julia Smith sagde ...

Funny to realize that crime solving detectives have to juggle two-income parenting challenges, teenagers almost past worrying about just when grandma needs care. I love that aspect of this story (which I obviously haven't read.) I think the family dynamics part is very much what gives a feminine perspective on the crime genre. And perhaps the very thing male readers are disinterested in?

Lauren sagde ...

This is on my 'to-read' list (the German title is, bizzarely, Die Tote im Keller). I like Tursten's books, but she's quite variable - The Torso was brilliant, as was whatever the first chronological book's called in English, but some of the other ones are duller. Or in parts, slightly ridiculous.

Maxine, you may have a point - in another untranslated book Irene and a colleague go to Paris, although their unsavoury experiences are rather more Copenhagen than London as far as tourism in Tursten books goes. (And the local policeman isn't nearly as nice...)

Julia, one of the things I always find interesting about Tursten as an author is that even though she covers family dynamics well, if sparingly, the overall tone of her books isn't all that feminine. There's a neutrality of narrative voice that I think lends itself to readers of both genders, and the style is much less overtly female than someone like, say, Camilla Lackberg. (Whom I also enjoy reading, but who has more elements which I think the average male reader would find offputting.)

Dorte H sagde ...

Cathy, as far as I remember The Glass Devil was really good!

Julia, when women write really well, and remember that they also have a crime plot to think about, many men enjoy their books. It seems that men don´t mind that female detectives are human (with husband & kids), but if 75 % of the book centres around cooking & chatting with girlfriends, some men give it up. I think that is fair enought if the books are marketed as crime, not chick-lit.

Dorte H sagde ...

Lauren, I have probably only come across the good ones so far. At least I don´t recall having been disappointed with her before.

And you are quite right that her private life is not a problem in the books. She is just a modern woman who has to cope somehow, and that part of it usually works quite well. Helene Tursten doesn´t fell sorry for herself all the time either (which is what I am so tired of in Liza Marklund´s otherwise good novels).