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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 February 2016
Yet again I have obviously not read the same novel as other reviewers because I think The Double Silence is a welcome return to form for Ms Jungstedt after a couple of sub par offerings. After an initial, very mysterious sex scene and a woman returning home and finding her front door open, leaving you to wonder what happened next it is slow to get going as it focuses on a group of 3 couples preparing to go on holiday together and then on their holiday. A windsurfer sees Sam, one of the group, being pushed off a cliff to his death and then it is discovered that Stine, another member of the group, has not been called away for work but is missing. Knutas must discover if she is the perpetrator or another victim.
The Double Silence is not an action packed novel, it is a slow uncovering of facts and innuendo to arrive at the truth and I found it fascinating. The group of friends at the centre of the novel is creepy and insular with their exclusivity, over dependence on each other and determinedly happy faces. One of the detectives describes it as "cult like" but unnatural is more like it, although I have known a couple of similar but not as extreme groups over the years. I think Ms Jungstedt does a good job with its disintegration. Meanwhile the investigation continues as both Knutas and Jacobsson wrestle with personal problems.
I liked The Double Silence and found it an interesting, stress free read - no edge of the seat stuff, more a gentle unraveling of information so if that's what you like this is a good read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 April 2014
Mari Jungstedt’s seventh novel about Detective Superintendent Anders Knutas and his assistant, Karin Jacobsson, of the Visby police force on the Swedish island of Gotland introduces the reader to three well-off couples who take holidays together and socialise as a tight group. They have decided to attend the Ingmar Bergman Festival on the island of Fårö, just north of Gotland, and to watch young guillemots at Stora Karlsö.

The couples are John, an American bar-owner and his wife, Beata, a model, who have an open marriage; a film director, Sam, and his wife, Andrea, and the exotic Vietnamese, Stina, married to an older man, the three-times married Håkan. There are the expected hints about a great deal being hidden within these relationships, but neither these nor what happens to some of them create the necessary tension to create a really unputdownable book. None of the six is really well-described, rather surprising for a novelist whose characters are usually drawn so perceptively. However, Jungstedt is to be congratulated in not dwelling on the injuries suffered by the person who falls over a cliff - ‘They stopped abruptly when they caught sight of XXX. Or what was left of him/her.’ Some others authors would spend a page or two on the damage done to limb, bone and brain.

Quite early on, one of the six falls over a cliff and another disappears. Knutas and Jacobsson are called upon to investigate. Both are wrestling with personal problems, Knutas and his wife, Lina, are not really communicating and Jacobsson has decided that it is time to make contact with the daughter who she gave up for adoption as a small baby. The focus is very much on these two since the newspaperman, Johan Berg, who played a significant part in earlier stories, is on paternity leave looking after 7-month old Anton, although he is frustrated at not being involved in following the police investigation. Later on Knutas decides to do a spot of roof repairing and the expected happens.

There is a great deal of information about Gotland and Ingmar Bergman, and the author is very good at creating real landscapes and describing Bergman’s films without it seeming like a lecture. However, the she has misjudged the lack of action in the first half of the book which is not helped by the very short chapters which result in a very jerky narrative as the focus moves from the police investigation to the married couples and then to the obligatory comments of the criminal, and back again. At one point the action shifts to Ventspils in Latvia for no very obvious reason.

Jungstedt has introduced a new character late on in the story and no doubt he will be mentioned in forthcoming books. There is also an important telephone call from the Caribbean at the very end of the book that will provide a link to a later book. This is not Jungstedt at the top of her form but the novel is still well worth reading, especially if you are a guillemot-lover. Twenty days after hatching the chicks must dive into the sea from their nesting ledges in order to start swimming to the Baltic ‘The diving occurred over a period of one hour. It always began after ten o’clock at night when it was more or less dark….The birds waited until evening because their biggest enemies, the gulls, didn’t see well in the dark, so they wouldn’t be able to take the babies when they dropped like stones towards the ground from a height of 30 or 40 metres.’
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on 14 October 2013
This a wonderfully well crafted and cleverly thought through crime mystery. Although there is the hint of violence and danger in the early chapters it is a good while before a murder occurs.
Unlike many stories the background is told in the present time leading up to the events that destroy the world of a group of close-knit friends. This gives us a perspective on these events and makes us as involved as the Police, who identify suspects but can't really make a case.
It is fascinating as the layers in the plot are peeled back enabling the reader to understand more fully but the surprises remain right to the end even though the obvious was in clear sight all the time.
This is the 7th in a series of books set in and around Gotland. It could be read as a stand alone novel but the real joy is to see the development of characters since we were first introduced to them in Unseen.
Not always as dark as some Scandinavian crime writing but some of the best stories and insights into human behaviour
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on 24 January 2014
The writer has a great knack of describing details about the settings of the various locations where the action takes place and gives interesting details as she develops the characters involved. Several false trails which keeps the reader guessing until near the end.
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on 28 March 2014
It is shame that some things just don't live up to the billing. This is the case here! the author makes you wait for a third of the book before anything actually happens to let it make the thriller/mystery category. You might also think that during that time you would get some information that you could use later on in the book, but no it is just useless padding. That aside the remaining two thirds of the book are okay, and a reasonable crime thriller is told. Three murders take place during the holiday of a tight group of friends on the island of Faro in Sweden. A festival celebrating the film director Ingmar Bergman is attended by the holidaymakers when the killing starts. Anders Knutas is the local police detective who along with his colleague have to unravel the mystery of who done it.
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on 2 March 2014
I have been a long time follower of Mari Jungstedt. This is a very good book but not quite up there with the best. Somehow, this time her characters are not quite as believable and hence the intertwining stories do not have the same edge.
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on 11 June 2014
The usual mix of Gotland police procedural and soap opera and nothing much happens for almost half the book and if you missed the character studies in the first bit they are repeated in potted form in the second. Predictable in that no-one but the perpetrator is left (who could have dunnit) and it is a trifle uninteresting. A pity as I like Knutas though I will be reading the next instalment
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on 2 June 2014
Slow to get going and all the characters seemed to be jumbled up and a bit confusing to follow at first however, once into story it was good. I didn't find it as gripping as the previous six books but I did enjoy it. There wasn't as much of Anders Knutas in this book discussing the case with his colleagues just seemed to come to their own conclusions.
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on 31 May 2014
Really gripping investigation for Knutas and his team following a death on an island in Gotland. Complicated relationships between a group of friends holidaying there lead to surprising revalations. Also a good subplot concerning his assistant, Karen, and her search for the daughter she had adopted as a baby.
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on 29 July 2013
This novel is the latest in the series set on the Swedish island
of Gotland,and featuring Detective Superintendent Anders Knutas.
An exclusive group of well-heeled and somewhat smug neighbours are
on their annual holiday together, when one of them is pushed off a
cliff.Knutas and his colleague,Karin Jacobsson,investigate the death,
and the relationships between the neighbours.The former is distracted
by his marriage going stale,and the latter by her preoccupation with
meeting the daughter she gave up for adoption after being raped as
a teenager.
'The Double Silence' is a well-written and finely translated, engaging
police procedural novel where the author holds a mirror up to a shallow
and egocentric section of society.
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