Calling Out For You by Karin Fossum

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Calling Out For You by Karin Fossum

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An Indian woman is found brutally murdered in a village meadow. Part of the Inspector Konrad Sejer series (each of which can be read as stand-alone books) this is highly recommended by The Bookbag for those who enjoy police procedural novels.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: May 2006
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 978-0099474661

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Gunder Jomann had a book in which there was a picture of a beautiful Indian woman. Middle-aged and lonely, he decided to go to India and find a wife. Whilst he was there he met and married Poona Bai and Gunder returned to Norway, planning to meet Poona at the airport a fortnight later. As he was about to go and pick her up he heard that his sister Marie had been in a serious car accident and was in a coma. Pulled between his longing to meet his wife and fear for his sister's life he decides to go to the hospital and asks someone else to meet Poona. The following day the body of an Indian woman is found in a meadow. She'd been brutally bludgeoned to death.

The village of Elvestad where Gunder lived was relatively small - only about two thousand people - so a brutal murder dominated everyone's thoughts. It's a close-knit community and everyone knows everyone else's business. Fingers were pointed, but there was also a reluctance to believe that people you had known all your life might be capable of such an atrocity. Inspector Konrad Sejer and his assistant Jacob Skarre struggle to get untainted information from the villagers and to find the identity of the murdered woman as Gunder Jomann is reluctant to admit that it might be his wife.

If you're a fan of police procedural novels then Karin Fossum is hard to better. She has the detail, the feel of the investigation perfectly, but does it without the characters of the policemen intruding upon the job. They are well-fleshed out but only as much as is required by the plot. I originally read Karin Fossum after discovering Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander novels and I now feel that Fossum is rather better. She's less prone to melodrama and better on the police procedural side.

All that would matter little if it was not for the fact that Fossum can write. She began her literary life as a poet and the influence is there in her crime novels. There's no waffle, no padding and just good, simple sentence construction. This book was translated by Charlotte Barslund and whilst I can't compare it with the original Norwegian the book reads well and easily, as have other Fossum novels with a different translator.

It's a couple of days now since I finished reading the book and the character who has stayed in my mind the most is Gunder Jomann. I began by being dismissive of him, imagining him to be the stereotypical middle-aged man who goes to Asia to find a bride, but I warmed to him. He's a simple, straight-forward man prepared to give all his love to Poona and to do his best by her and her family whilst still tending his own family ties. His love is obvious, his grief almost overwhelming. A splendid character indeed.

If you enjoy this type of book then Bookbag can recommend Ruth Rendell's Not in The Flesh.

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Buy Calling Out For You by Karin Fossum at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Calling Out For You by Karin Fossum at

Karin Fossum's Inspector Sejer novels in chronological order


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