March 12th, 2011


Books 23-24: The Ice Princess and Undead and Unwelcome

Book 23: The Ice Princess ( Erica Falck /Patrik Hedstrom 01).
Author: Camilla Lackberg, 2002. Translated from the Swedish by Steven T. Murray, 2008.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Murder Mystery.
Other Details: Large Print Hardback. 465 pages.

Following the death of her parents, Erica Falck, an author specialising in biographies of prominent Swedish women writers, has returned to the small Swedish coastal town of Fjallback to deal with their estate and work on her latest book. She is approached by a distressed townsman who asks her to enter the home of her close friend from childhood, Alex Wijkner. There she finds Alex lying dead in a bath of frozen water, her wrists slashed. Alex's parents ask Erica to write a memorial piece on their daughter. She agrees and almost from the first interview the people who knew Alex claim that she would not have taken her own life.

Meanwhile, the local police determine that Alex had been murdered and it staged to look like suicide. On the investigating team is Patrik Hedstrom, who had also known Erica and Alex when they were young and had nursed quite a crush on Erica. Their paths cross when Erica accompanies Alex's parents to the police station. The case unfolds at a leisurely pace revealing plenty of suspects.

Lackberg has been described as the 'Swedish Agatha Christie' and having read this first book, I can appreciate why. She draws on the traditions of cosy whodunit mystery writers like Christie to great effect though marries this with modern sensibilities. I enjoyed the book though I had a bit of a quibble as Lackberg had her characters obtaining vital pieces of information but not revealing them to the reader. This was always a issue I had with Christie as she often did the same or even failed to reveal a vital clue at all until the denouncement. Overall I found the strength of the book was in its atmospheric Scandinavian winter setting along with two very engaging main characters as well as a story that held my attention.

Book 24: Undead and Unwelcome (Queen Betsy 08) .
Author: MaryJanice Davidson, 2009.
Genre: Paranormal Romance. Humour. Chick Lit.
Other Details: Unabridged audio. Length: 4 hours, 53 mins. Read by Nancy Wu.

This completes the loose trilogy that began with Undead and Uneasy and also crosses over with Davidson's other ongoing series, The Wyndham Werewolves, as Betsy, Sinclair, Jessica with BabyJon travel to Cape Cod to deal with an issue that could lead to an outbreak of hostilities between the vampire and werewolf communities. Back in St. Paul, Laura, Betsy's half-sister, is being stalked by groups of Satanists who wish to serve her.

As usual this was a fun fluffy listen. I was amused when Betsy emerged as a grammar stickler describing herself as being tortured by bad spelling and grammar, acronyms and emoticons in email and texts. I am sure she'd totally approve of Lynne Truss' Eats, Shoots & Leaves'.
Dead Dog Cat


While waiting in line at Five Guys, I finished reading The Beat Cop's Guide to Chicago Eats which included a few places that I experienced while I lived there. Yes, restaurants often stay for decades there. They do it right the first time.