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The Gingerbread House (Hammarby 1) Paperback – 5 Dec 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (5 Dec 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405913789
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405913782
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


The pages turn themselves, right up to the final startling twist (John Verdon)

Carin Gerhardsen writes so vividly, like she is painting with words, gripping your heart and soul in an ever-tightening tourniquet (Peter James)

The books are fast-paced and addictive: finely tuned pieces that virtually demand to be read in one sitting (Barry Forshaw)

About the Author

Carin Gerhardsen was born in 1962 in Katrineholm, Sweden. Originally a mathematician, she enjoyed a successful career as an IT consultant before turning her hand to writing crime fiction. The Gingerbread House is the first title in The Hammarby Series, novels following Detective Inspector Conny Sjöberg and his murder investigation team. Carin now lives in Stockholm with her husband and their two children. She is currently working on the seventh title in the series.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Alex C on 27 Feb 2014
Format: Paperback
I have never written a review before but feel compelled to in order to encourage you to save your money.

From the outset the motivation of the criminal is completely obvious and we learn nothing about the character as the story unfolds. From this point of view the story is like the tv show Columbo but it's missing the genius of Peter Falk in the protagonist of Conny Sjoberg. Far from being the typical detective who has personal problems and stresses that must be fought in order to maintain productivity in work, Sjoberg has a fantastic home life and only fights with his wife once - when he has to work over the weekend in order to solve the murder case.

The story takes so long to unfold not because the police have competing theories or conflicting evidence but apparently Sweden is the only country in the developed world that does not have a centralised fingerprint database. As such it takes about three quarters of the way through before the cases are eventually linked when regional police forces post their fingerprint analyses to Stockholm. Yes, you read that correctly, the results of the analyses are posted in hard copy format, as if this story is set a hundred years ago.
After the confirmation that the murders are linked the case takes one day to solve. Huzzah for efficiency! Imagine if they had wanted to work this hard before, other victims would have been spared.

Do I need to tell you that this is a completely rubbish book? I must have been reading a different story to everyone else because they all seem to love it and have identified multiple twists. Where are these?
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By maggiefb on 30 Nov 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read a few Scandinavian crime thrillers now, hooked in by Stieg Larsson. This story begins back in 1968 in a pre-school housed in an attractive building on top of a hill, surrounded by pine trees. However, within this idyllic setting an unpleasant regime of bullying is allowed to flourish: group dynamics and an uncaring teacher allow the brutal victimisation of two unfortunate children by their six-year-old classmates - children who, in the UK, would be in their second year of primary school.
In a different part of Sweden, in 2006, a murder occurs. Chief Inspector Conny Sjoberg, of the Violent Crimes Unit in Hammarby, Stockholm, leads the investigation. Rebus he is not - he is a happily married father of five who plays by the rules and gets on well with all his colleagues. After three more murders in other parts of the country he realises a serial killer may be responsible.
A fascinating portrayal of life in Sweden, Stockholm in particular, is presented to the reader. The Scandinavian character: understated and sometimes lacking in emotion, is described, along with the autumn weather and atmosphere. We experience family life - and lack of it in some cases, and are allowed to sample the food: unfamiliar (moose steak); tantalising (family meals prepared by Conny and his children), and unappealing: (burnt pork schnitzel with noodles).
We are also educated about the Middle East conflict and, in a sub-plot, encounter the use of Rohypnol, known as the 'date-rape' drug.
Throughout the book we read 'The Diary of a Murderer', which gives us insight into the reasons behind these gruesome killings.

The prose and dialogue often seem stilted - not unusual in books which have been translated from one language to another - and the language is American English.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NJL1974 on 29 Jun 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
...that doesn't mean it has to be any good. And this isn't.

A loner takes revenge against the kids who bullied him at school. That's the first plot. Then we get a second plot about a police officer who may or may not have been raped, which is more interesting than the main plot, but which has obviously been crow-barred in from another book, because (spoiler alert) the two storylines are completely unrelated to one another. Without giving too much away, one of these plots is bizarrely unresolved.

Worse that that are the pointless diversions. We get a five page lecture on the politics of Lebanon. We get an equally long diversion about the lead policeman cooking a meal for his family. None of the characters, other than our loner (who is a walking cliche) get any personality development at all (unless you count playing tennis as a defining trait).

And the title makes no sense... AVOID
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Simon Clarke TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 Jun 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This excellent novel,the first of a series,set in Stockholm,
is an example of Scandinavian crime fiction at its very best.
In 1968,relentless bullying occurs amongst very young school
children .Several years later a series of brutal murders take
place in the Stockholm area.Chief Inspector Conny Sjoberg and
his team eventually find a link between them.
The novel works on several levels.The police procedural aspect,
is skillfully done ,and never less than interesting,as the team
led by the intuitive Conny Sjoberg,a busy father of five children,
attempt to come to grips with the case.There is a sub-plot
concerning one of the female detectives.Suspense is maintained
throughout,whilst the long-lasting effects of bullying are
harrowingly portrayed.
First rate. Leaves one eagerly awaiting the second novel in
the series.
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