Lotte and Soren Hammer
Originally in Danish. English translation by Ebba Segerberg.
Bloomsbury. First published 2013.
This is a very nice crime novel set in Denmark. It is not really a thriller, and not really a mystery either, though it starts out as one. But the questions are answered quickly, and the book becomes a more a police procedural, with a number of sympathetic characters, mostly policemen and policewomen. The key point of suspense that moves the book rapidly to the end is the technique used by the investigators to overcome the hostile public perception of the killings as a justified, though extra-legal, 'execution' of a bunch of pedophiles. The crime scene is quite gruesome, and I expected that this novel would follow the apparent Scandinavian predilection for awful crimes by crazed criminals (Larsson, Nesbo). But the rest of the book is less horrifying and neither the criminals nor the victims are actual psychopaths, though both are not psychologically normal. On the whole the writing is quite nice, and the translation adequate, I think. There are a few non sequiturs, and some questions left hanging here and there, and unlike, say Agatha Christie, everything is not fully explained.
The Lotte and Soren Hammer website says that a total of five novels featuring the chief detective Konrad Simonsen have been written (in Danish) by the brother and sister writer duo since the first one in 2005. This is the first English translation. A second is promised this year (2015). Others will follow, I suppose. This paperback version I purchased at Delhi Airport costs only Rs 300/-, and the book is more than worth that price. I certainly intend to try the second also.