Scotland native Torquil MacLeod turned his years of copywriting to good use when a family member relocated to southern Sweden and MacLeod decided it was a good place to set a mystery. Malmo is the third largest city in Sweden, sitting on the southwestern edge of the country at the end of the bridge to Denmark. (Malmo is near the town of Ystad, the setting for the Kurt Wallander series by Henning Mankell.) The ninth book in MacLeod’s Malmo series is scheduled for release in March 2023.
The first book Meet Me in Malmo (Robert Hale, 2010; McNidder and Grace, 2015) introduces Inspector Anita Sundstrom of the Malmo police. The chief inspector dislikes having women on his staff and he distrusts Sundstrom’s intelligence. The office Lothario can’t take no for an answer. Between the two of them she is miserable and considering the benefits of a transfer.
Against this toxic environment, the body of an internationally famous movie star is found in her home in Malmo, where she retreated between films. A journalist for a regional newspaper in Newcastle, England, made the discovery when he arrived for an interview with her husband, his former university friend and now a prominent film director. The widower reported that his wife had been receiving letters from a demented fan. Later the police learn that the film star had advocated for the replacement of her husband’s business partner, which would spell the end of the partner’s career. A third possible motive lies in the politically controversial choice of the director’s next project. They all have to be thoroughly explored.
The journalist, instead of going back to England, wangles an assignment from his newspaper to cover the investigation because he is smitten with Sundstrom. He is underfoot while she works around her inept boss and backstabbing colleagues, political appointees demand fast results, and the media skewers the police hourly.
Interesting look into the Swedish criminal justice system. Solid forensics and investigative footwork which seems to transcend national borders. Malmo with its film festivals and strong tourism industry is a promising site for a long-running series. Strong crisp writing. Unexpected evidence turns up near the end of the book and a bombshell is handed to Sandstrom in the last pages, giving the story an ambiguous outcome. For fans of procedurals and Scandinavian noir.
· Publisher: McNidder and Grace; July 21, 2015
· Language: English
· Paperback: 298 pages
· ISBN-10: 9780857161130
Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2023
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
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