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Under the Snow [Hardcover]

Kerstin Ekman , Joan Tate
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb 1998
With Blackwater, Kerstin Ekman made one of the most memorable English-language debuts by a European author in recent years.

Under the Snow opens with a phone call from an outlying village to police constable Torsson, and the news is of a mah jong party turned sour. A brawl broke out and a man named Matti was accidentally killed. When he questions the villagers, Torsson notices some minor discrepancies in their stories, but writes them off as unimportant. It is not until a few months later that he is forced to reopen the case: David, an eccentric artist and old friend of Matti, has arrived in town for a visit with no knowledge of the death. David has an uneasy feeling about the whole affair, and when he finds Anna Ryd, the town's beautiful English teacher, running away with a bag containing a noose with human hairs on it, he makes it his business to find out what happened. Gradually the facts of the case come to light and dark deeds which were covered up in the snow and darkness of winter are finally brought to light under the relentless summer sun.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (Feb 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385488661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385488662
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,051,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a Scandinavian thriller 1 Jan 2010
I have devoured so many Scandinavian police procedurals that I'm running out of titles & authors as well as bookshelves. I read 'Blackwater' a couple of years ago and enjoyed it, but didn't rave about it, which is why I didn't rush to get 'Under the Snow' - and what a mistake that was! I put it on my 2009 Christmas list and just finished it today. It's a relatively short book but it took me longer to read than many weightier books because it is utterly engrossing. The style is tight and eloquent, with some great turns of phrase, and you have to watch out not to miss the subtle wit. Parts are genuinely very funny, but you have to be paying attention. The dialogue is realistic and interesting, although I did find it quite hard to keep track of who was who among the characters. It is very well plotted and keeps you guessing to the last page, but perhaps the best thing is the sense of atmosphere. The story unfolds amid the wild landscapes of the Sami people in Lapland, and the setting really burns into the reader's consciousness. Once I had finished this book, I missed reading it. I will definitely explore more Ekman books and can only express my surprise that 'Blackwater' seems to be the most widely known.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An early novel but even here the wry tone of voice, distinctive humour come through. The death of a teacher in the deep north of Sweden unravels to tell the tale of a cultural clash, and its toll on a small local community. The rings sweep out into all our lives. The landscape and climate are the true movers in this novel. No one cannot be charmed by the irresponsible David, by his policeman friend's solid determination. If only he had vacationed in the south as planned!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Oh winter, please come..." 21 Nov 2012
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Far north in Finland and parts of Norway and what used to be called Lapland live the Sami people, even today holding to their own customs and often identifiable by their distinctive silver jewellery, worn on special occasions. Kerstin Ekman sets her book, Under The Snow in such a community. A man is found dead - he is Matti, a painter. The circumstances are described to Torrson, the investigator sent to find out how Matti died. That's not easy because some of the informants contradict one another; either that, or refuse to answer questions at all. Torrson knows he has to be patient, but his superiors want it cleared up.

Then David, also a painter and a friend of Matti, turns up. He attaches himself to the phlegmatic Torrson and they make a formidable team. David is a wild card and his appearance gives an uncertain edge as the small community fragments. Rumours of a pregnant girl and the deaths of two reindeer spark the investigators to take a frightening journey into the passesadje - a wildnerness valley and sacred place, where they are assaulted by a terrifying wind and struggle to find their way back. But one person knows where the girl ended up, and where another girl, one strikingly alike the first, has hidden the proof of wrong-doing.

This is densely populated with a mixture of Sami and Norwegians and it takes some time with the flurry of names to work out who is who. It's not as readable and hospitable as her more famous book Blackwater, but it is certainly worth while as a mixture of the more unusual and unpredictable of plot-lines. I read Blackwater many years before the current fashion for Scandinavian Crime and can recommend both Ekman's enchanting, adventurous fantasy
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder in Lapland 14 Feb 2011
By Sabina
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
David travels to visit his friend, the artist Matti Olsson, but finds that he is dead. David and Constable Torsson make an unlikely pair as they try to find out the truth. The villagers are unforthcoming, and a gradual sense of conspiracy emerges, while the sense of danger mounts. Much of what is engaging about this story, sparely written, is the setting and apparent eccentricities of the local inhabitants. I kept thinking that this would make a good, slightly surreal sixties-type film. There is a freshness about it I liked.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars confusing 15 Aug 2007
By Bagpuss
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Extremely short. Found it a little confusion and disjointed - I think it lost something in translation.
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