The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen

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The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen

Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: From the editorial team which brought us The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson comes the first in a new series. Despite the odd teething trouble there's a lot of promise here.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 254 Date: October 2012
Publisher: Stockholm Text
ISBN: 978-9187173301

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In the late nineteen sixties there was a child in a preschool class at Katrineholm in Sweden. He was the one most of the others turned on. It was more than teasing. In fact it was far more than bullying and in adults it would have been called torture, but everyone - including the teacher - looked the other way and that boy grew up to be the outsider, without friends or family. One day, nearly forty years later and in Stockholm he recognised one of his tormentors and followed him to his cheerful, prosperous family home. Hans Vannerberg was a partner in an estate agency which he'd helped to build himself. Not long afterwards he would be discovered - brutally murdered - on the kitchen floor of a woman with whom he seemed to have no connection and who found him when she returned home from hospital. It was the first in a series of brutal murders in and around Stockholm.

The Vannerberg murder fell to criminal investigator Conny Sjoberg - like Vannerberg he's a family man, but with five young children, two of whom are adopted. It's quite a while before anyone makes a connection between the murders - even the thought that it's a bad year for forty-four year olds doesn't immediately ring a bell. The murders, you see, have a common thread but they're all different and it's a race to trap the killer before anyone else dies. It's a very good plot that keeps you on your toes.

I love the characters. Sjoberg is not one of the standard 'policeman with issues' - perm any two from drink, drugs, marriage problems, difficulty with authority, etc - he's well grounded and a man you can respect. His team are a good mix of gender and ethnicity and all come off the page in remarkably few words. There are just enough loose threads to provide interest in what is going to happen in the second book in the series.

I do have one quibble about the book and given that my Swedish is just about non-existent it might sound unreasonable to express dissatisfaction with the translation but there are places where it's simply not idiomatic (stone sober) or grammatical (the closest of two stools) and there were several occasions when I was pulled out of the story and rereading to see if I'd misunderstood something.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

The book comes from the same editorial team which gave us The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. If you're looking for more Swedish crime then the obvious choice is Henning Mankell but you might also like to consider Asa Larsson or Kjell Eriksson.

Buy The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen at

Buy The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen at


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