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4.0 out of 5 stars Strong female characters
Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis return with their third book - Death of a Nightingale - featuring protagonist Nina Borg.

Nina is a Red Cross nurse working in a Danish refugee camp. She's passionate about her work and the people she looks after - to the detriment of her own life. Her marriage has broken down and she's lost custody of her children...
Published 10 months ago by Luanne Ollivier

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3.0 out of 5 stars Scandinavian Chick Lit Mystery Series Not to Everyone's Liking
DEATH OF A NIGHTINGALE arrives from Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis, the Danish duo who recently published The New York Times bestseller Boy in the Suitcase, The that was shortlisted for the Scandinavian Glass Key Award for crime fiction and translated into more than 15 languages. Kaaberbol has sold more than two million books worldwide as a fantasy writer; Friis is a...
Published 10 months ago by Stephanie De Pue


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4.0 out of 5 stars Strong female characters, 18 Nov 2013
By 
Luanne Ollivier - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis return with their third book - Death of a Nightingale - featuring protagonist Nina Borg.

Nina is a Red Cross nurse working in a Danish refugee camp. She's passionate about her work and the people she looks after - to the detriment of her own life. Her marriage has broken down and she's lost custody of her children.

Death of a Nightingale continues the story of two of the residents of Coal House Camp - Ukrainian national Natasha and her daughter Katerina. Natasha has been convicted of the attempted murder of her abusive Danish boyfriend, but escapes custody on her way to sentencing, determined to reclaim her child.

Alternate chapters tell the story of two little girls in Stalinist Ukraine in 1934. The glimpse into the past is chilling and compelling. Written from a child's viewpoint, I found these chapters fascinating and found myself heading to the 'net to read more about this period in history. Slowly but surely Kaaberbol and Friis meld the two story lines together. I enjoyed the well plotted and slow paced reveal.

Friis and Kaaberbol have populated the book with incredibly strong female characters, each with dogged and determined wills. Lines are blurred often - what is right versus what is lawful. And what needs to be done. I think this is why I like Nina so much. She is far from perfect, but tries to do right by everyone in her life. She's failing, but is able to see her shortcomings and indeed acknowledges she may not be able to change - her family may be lost to her.

The plot is well crafted and the story moves along quickly, with lots of action and bite your nails moments. The ending is tied up but leaves the door open for the next in the series - one I will be picking up for sure.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Scandinavian Chick Lit Mystery Series Not to Everyone's Liking, 17 Nov 2013
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
DEATH OF A NIGHTINGALE arrives from Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis, the Danish duo who recently published The New York Times bestseller Boy in the Suitcase, The that was shortlisted for the Scandinavian Glass Key Award for crime fiction and translated into more than 15 languages. Kaaberbol has sold more than two million books worldwide as a fantasy writer; Friis is a children's writer and journalist. The crime novel/thriller was translated from the Danish by Elisabeth Dyssegaard. The third instalment in their series centering on Danish amateur detective and Red Cross nurse Nina Borg, following on the heels of Invisible Murder, presents the reader with a mystery that takes seventy years to work itself out.

Natasha Doroshenko is a Ukrainian woman who has been convicted of the attempted murder of her abusive Danish fiancé. One freezing night, while she is being taken from Vestre Prison, where she is being held, to an interrogation in Copenhagen's police headquarters, she escapes custody after hearing and seeing a pair of threatening looking Ukrainian-speaking men nearby. That same night, the frozen, tortured body of Michael, her ex-fiancé, is found in his car. The hunt for Natasha begins. It isn't the first time the young Ukrainian woman has lost a partner to violent ends: her first husband the Ukrainian Pavel (Paul) was also murdered, three years earlier in Kiev, and in the same manner: tortured to death in a car. Natasha steals a car, hits the frozen winter roads of Denmark: she is on her way, just as the police suspect, to the Coal-House Refugee Camp, where her eight-year old daughter Katerina is being kept.

Nina Borg has been working with the children at the Coal-House, particularly Katerina, who is known as Rina in the camp. Nina has been following Natasha's case for several years, since the beautiful blonde young mother first took refuge at a women's crisis center where Nina worked. The nurse had, more than once, tried to help Natasha, who is considered nave and inexperienced in the ways of the world, to leave her abusive fiancé. The nurse just can't see the Ukrainian woman as the vicious killer the police believe her to be. However, Nina comes to realize in her efforts to protect Natasha and her daughter that there is much she doesn't know about this woman, her family and her past. The mystery, we eventually discover, goes back to the overwhelming famine that devastated Stalinist Ukraine in 1934, when a pair of young sisters, Oxana and Olga, both with the voices of nightingales, were struggling to survive. Oxana, at ten, in her ill-informed childish enthusiasm for Stalin's Communism, sang her family into shallow graves, leaving her younger sister Olga an orphan.

Oddly enough, this thriller eventually turns itself inside out. The Ukrainian 1934 backstory is much stronger and more engrossing than the current-day, rather shallow plot, and finally takes over the book. Thank goodness, as the present-day story is so sharply focused on rather thin material, which many readers, including me, may consider to be chick lit. And Nina, in her anxiety to help others rather her own family, is not a character creation I enjoy reading about.

The Danish duo do write well enough, giving us a bone-chilling picture of their Scandinavian homeland in its deep drifts of wintertime snow. Their examination of the country's, and the city of Copenhagen's, flora, fauna, social ways and road ways seems accurate and flavorful enough to me. Dialog, narrative and descriptive writing are fine. The novel is densely populated. Some of us, may, in fact, have difficulty with the plentiful Danish and Ukrainian names.

The pair of women authors have been described as writers of crime noir; this is extremely inaccurate, as they do, in fact, write chick lit mysteries, Scandinavian or not, centering on women's children, families, concerns. I've read all three of their books now; they are all chick lit. And I've been reading Scandinavian mysteries for a long time, from the days of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, The Laughing Policeman: like it for its immediate, and, I must admit, bloodthirsty, approach to life. Some readers and critics have billed the authors as additional contestants for the crown of Scandinavian thriller writers, vacated too soon by the untimely death of the Swedish writer Stieg Larsson, who recently gave the world the huge international best selling phenomenon Stieg Larsson Collection, Millennium Trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest / The Girl Who Played With Fire. Sorry, but no way. Not this pair.
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Death of a Nightingale
Death of a Nightingale by Agnete Friis (Paperback - 16 Jan 2014)
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