Been gone a while as we have been moving from Illinois to a senior living facility in Iowa. Reading continues but writing about it has suffered.
The Stockholm Archipelago is composed of as many as 30,000 islands. Most are just little rocky outcrops inhabited by seabirds; some are filled with summer havens for Swedish vacationers; and some are communities onto themselves and come equipped with year round residents.
I have Just finished a new to me Nordic Mystery by Swedish author Viveca Sten titled Still Waters. It’s the first book in a series set on an island called Sandhamn in the aforementioned Stockholm Archipelago. The central sleuth is Inspector Thomas Andreasson—a 14 year veteran of the police force and knowledgeable about boats and the sea around the many islands that make up the area.
Andreasson also knows many of more permanent residents of the islands including Nora, an old childhood friend who is now a lawyer and married to a Sandamn doctor and sailing enthusiast. She has just been offered a better job in Malmo but her husband is not at all keen about moving from the island. (Does this sound a bit like Ibsen's Nora to you?)
And of course, since all detectives in mysteries seem to have psychological or personal challenges in addition to their current investigation, the Inspector has his. He is in the process of recovering from a divorce fueled by the sudden infant death syndrome of his infant daughter.
In Ms. Sten’s opening outing a male body washes up on Sandhamn’s shore and the initial problem is identifying the corpse and determining whether the death is due to foul play or accidental. The case becomes more complicated when shortly after the victim is identified, his cousin is poisoned. A third victim just makes things even more murky.
Sten’s prose (in translation) is simple and without major flourishes. She takes her time tying up the personal affairs of the characters while also digging into the hidden secrets buried within the case. What I found particularly interesting was the information about the history of the many islands and how they turned from fishing and lighthouse sites to summer tourist and sailing meccas. It could also be that my interest picked up because the daily Stockholm to Helsinki ferry figures in the plot. It was on that ferry that my son met his lovely Finnish bride some years ago.
I am now reading book two and enjoying it as well.