Hus vid världens ände by Åke Edwardson, Sweden, 2012

Although a number of books in Edwardson's Inspector Erik Winter series have been translated to English, I do not believe that Hus vid världens ände (The House at the End of the World) has yet been translated. Like all the other books in the series, it is set in Sweden's second-largest city, Gothenburg and revolves around Erik Winter, a drinker of good whisky and a lover of the American jazz saxophonist John Coltrane.

The background is detailed and accurately painted: anyone with any knowledge of Gothenburg can easily recognize the streets and the buildings, visualize the parks, smell the markets. In this book, Winter spends some of his time in Costa del Sol, Spain, and it is obvious that Edwardson has walked the same streets that Winter walks and that he has seen the same buildings and felt the same sun on his face.

There were not supposed to be any more books in the series; the last book (Den sista vintern or The Last Winter), published 2008, was to have been just that – the last book. But now Winter is back, unable to tear himself away from the job of solving crime. A couple of his more ambitious colleagues may have possibly wished that he had stayed away; yet, in the end, they are all able, if begrudgingly, to appreciate both his expertise and his experience.

Photo of Edwardsson from
The crime – the gruesome slaying of three people – hits the reader in the very first pages of the book. There seems to be no motive and very few clues; suspects are pulled in for questioning; the reader sides first with one possible theory and then with another. There are so many possibilities – anyone could have done it.

As well as being able to present credible characters with both strength and weaknesses, Edwardson also has the ability to create, and then build on, suspense, letting drop very small clues, while subtly offering several different scenarios. This book, like all the ones that have gone before it, is intelligently and carefully written; the reader knows that the all the small pieces of the puzzle will eventually reveal the answer – there will be no completely unattached surprises at the end of the book.

If you are interested in giving him a go, the first Erik Winter book in the series is Sun and Shadow. You may be pleasantly surprised.