Shadow – Karin Alvtegen

A fun thing first, Karin Alvtegen is the grand niece of the Pipi Longstocking author, Astrid Lindgren. I haven’t read Pipi Longstocking in so many years and can’t remember much about the books at all but think I will track them down for a nostalgic re read.

On to Shadow – part thriller, part delving into a family history and secrets, I thought this was a clever book with all the pieces coming together near the end in an unpredictable way. The tenseness of the writing kept it at the top of of my reading pile this week – It covers all sorts of things, exploring the motivation behind human behaviour, the lengths a person will go to to protect what they value most -It is a dark book with plenty going on – I liked it a lot.

The story starts with a young boy abandoned in a park in Stockholm. Many years later a 92 year old woman Gerda dies and lies unfound in her flat for three days. With no apparent family, the funeral arrangements are being made by a social services officer. Wanting the funeral to be as personal as possible, she conscientously looks for information on Gerda’s background, even a photo or someone who may want to attend the funeral. All seems unremarkable until she makes a suprising find -all the novels of Sweden’s most famous, humanitarian, nobel prize winning author Alex Ragnerfeldt. The books have personal notes to Gerda in each but are all in disturbing condition. They have also been found in her freezer. A starting point has been established.

This is the second book of Karin Alvtegen’s I have read along with Betrayal which I also really liked – from memory it was tense and more than a little creepy. I’d like to read more of her novels – Missing looks especially good.

Translated from the Swedish by McKinley Burnett
2009, 320 pages

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