Saturday, 17 May 2008
IN AN ice-crusted bathtub, her lips blue, lies the Ice Princess - Alex, the beauty of the fishing town of Fjallbacka, her wrists slit.
The handyman who finds her body rushes straight to the nearest neighbour, professional writer Erica, to phone the police.
So far, so unremarkable. But Camilla Lackberg's story is more than a police procedural.
It's odd to find such warm-hearted, ordinary characters in a thriller as we have here. Everyone is human, in their kindness or unkindness or even psychopathy in one case
Erica was once Alex's best friend, and now she decides to write Alex's story. She - and the shy policeman who has always fancied Erica - discover that Alex had secret contacts all over the town.
One is a brilliant painter, a wino, son of the woman who cleans house for the aristocracy of the town of Fjallbacka. He is the obvious suspect for the murder. Until he turns up dead himself.
Meanwhile Erica's love life is taking comic and sweet turns - but I won't spoil it by saying how.
I couldn't put this book down, and at some points in the bank holiday weekend was rushing helplessly between the compost I was riddling and The Ice Princess, unable to abandon either.
Brilliantly plotted, this is a big hit in Sweden - to the extent that a Google search for Camilla Lackberg brings up many torrents of the TV version of the book.