Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What I'm Reading - The Torso by Helene Tursten

Soho Press bring out natty and classy editions of books by big name authors including Cara Black and Rebecca Pawel who set their stories in France and Spain respectively. They are also responsible for bringing two books (so far) by Swedish author Helene Tursten into English. Tursten's series features Crime Inspector Irene Huss of the Violent Crimes Unit in Gothenburg (I don't know if she's met Eric Winter, from Ake Edwardson's work :-)).

I'm about 1/3rd through 'The Torso' which is the third in the series (I believe) and the second to be translated. The first in the series and to be translated was 'Detective Inspector Huss'. It's a bit graphic in parts but I'm enjoying it enormously . What's quite unusual as Peter on Detectives Beyond Borders mentioned a while ago (apologies if I'm mis-remembering) is that she has a normal homelife. Her husband works evenings as a chef and they share their car, they have well balanced twin daughters and a dog and so far no complaints about her working long hours etc. So far so very good.

Synopsis from Soho Press website: Part of a human torso washes up on a beach near Göteborg, Sweden. It is so mutilated that gender is only established by DNA testing. A similar crime, now several years old, remains unsolved in Denmark. Detective Inspector Irene Huss is dispatched to Copenhagen to liaise with police there in pursuing the killer. Then a third corpse is discovered. This time it’s identified. She is a girl Detective Huss knew; she was asked by the girl’s mother to help her locate her missing daughter. A fourth victim, the son of the woman heading the Copenhagen crime squad, is also known to Huss. She fears the killer is tracking her, killing people with whom she is connected. There is even a chilling suggestion that he or she is one of her colleagues.

(Incidentally mine's a library copy so maybe worth checking with your local library :-))


Maxine said...

Sounds worth a look, though I am a bit squeamish for the more gruesome end of crime fic. This title reminds me of that awful film "Boxing Helena" --- well I didn't actually see it, but read the reviews, and the court case that ensued (Kim Basinger agreed to make the movie but backed out when she saw the script).
But this sounds different, might be worth a read --- if I can work out how to get the sequence in order!

Euro Crime said...

So far there's not been any 'on the page' violence but um, there are a few descriptions of the body (pieces).
Huss is a national judo champion so I don't expect any women in peril scenarios :-).

Detective Inspector Huss is the first (swedish title Den krossade tanghästen (1998)) and The Torso is the third (swedish title Tatuerad torso (2000)). Amazon marketplace has Detective Inspector Huss quite cheaply. I've not yet read my copy alas...

crimeficreader said...

That sounds interesting - be good to know what you think when you've finished it.
My copy of the latest Fred Vargas arrived today, by the way.

Peter said...

You remembered correctly. Not only did Irene Huss have a normal home life in Detective Inspector Huss, but a sub-plot involved one of her children's flirtation with neo-Nazism. The fact of the protagonist's home life interested me more than that particular sub-plot, which felt melodramatic and extraneous.

One is tempted to speculate that Tursten integrates her social concerns and sub-plots better in subsequent novels, but other bloggers have noted a tendency for publishers to translate Scandinavian crime novels out of series order. I'd assumed Detective Inspector Huss was the first in the series, but I'm not sure.

Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder is More Fun Away From Home"

Peter said...

Yeow, I should read the posts I'm replying to more carefully before I reply to them. I see that you answered the question of whether Detective Inspector Huss was the first in the series.

Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder is More Fun Away From Home"