Attorney Rebecka Martinsson returns to her northern Swedish home to recover from a traumatic experience. She becomes involved in the investigation of the murder of Mildred, a woman priest who was found hanging from a beam in her own church. The investigating police office, Anna Maria Mella, meets opposition, especially from the local organization of hunters, who clearly resented Mildred for having offered shelter on the church lands to a stray wolf. 

It is clear that Nalle, a large, mentally challenged boy, was close to the dead priest, and that his single parent father Lars-Gunnar did not appreciate their friendship. Nalle begins to trust Rebecka, as he trusted Mildred, and he appears to know something. But Anna Maria learns that Mildred had another enemy in her jealous, male colleague; moreover, some of the women in town resented her freedoms.

The many historical and personal ways in which the members of this isolated community are entwined becomes part of the investigation, but before it is complete Mella is confronted with two more murders and two suicides.


Set on a background of advancing Fall in Lapland, this murder mystery is a powerful examination of psychic wounds in which gender, disability, and social attitudes to sexuality are key actors. The toll taken on families by the presence of a disabled child is an important subtext. The women protagonists are an interesting novelty. Great writing and credible character sketches.



Translated by Marlaine Delargy. Winner of Sweden's Best Crime Novel Award, 2004


Bantam Dell Division of Random House

Place Published

New York



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