Amy Myers is known for her short stories and historical novels featuring Victorian chef Auguste Didier and chimney sweep Tom Wasp. Her contemporary series features classic car detective Jack Colby, and she is currently working on a new 1920s mystery series featuring Nell Drury, chef at Kent’s Wychbourne Court.
Karin Fossum has been called ‘the Norwegian Queen Crime’ and it’s not hard to see why. Her writing (and its translation) is clear, vivid and memorable. Like Sophia Hannah, she is also a poet and began her writing career in that field. Since then she has become an award-winning novelist.
The Caller is another in her popular Inspector Konrad Sejer novels, in which she takes the lives of ordinary people and explores the psychological effects of crime upon them. When Lily and Karsten Sundelin sit down to dinner one evening their eight- month-old baby Margrete is sleeping peacefully outside in the summer sunshine. Nothing to worry about – or so they believe. When Lily goes out to her however she finds the baby completely bathed in blood. She is unhurt, so it is ‘merely’ a joke on someone’s part, but in the words of the anonymous postcard put through the Sundelins’ door, ‘Hell begins now’ and not just for Lily.
The story that follows is a sad and scaring one, revealing the author’s deep understanding of people and their reactions, both expected and unexpected, and where those reactions can lead. The strength of this novel lies in that rather than in gripping suspense. It is well constructed as an overall view of a community under threat as Sejer hunts down his quarry, whose own motivations and actions are presented side by side with the police investigation. There are few plot surprises in this novel but a great deal to think about.