When the body of a young girl is found caught in a fisherman's net in the small Swedish town of Fjallbacka, it seems that she drowned accidentally. But when the post mortem reveals that her death was murder, local detective Patrik Hedstrom must catch the killer before they can strike again.
I'm a fan of Scandinavian crime fiction, but I've never read a book by Camilla Lackberg before, although she's apparantly one of Sweden's biggest authors and ranks above Henning Mankell in the bestseller lists.
This book has a strong domestic theme running through it, which serves to make the crime all the more shocking. Fjallbacka is a very small town, and Patrik Hedstrom is horrified to discover that the dead child is the daughter of his girlfriend's best friend. This relationship makes the investigation very claustrophobic, especially when combined with some of the other plotlines, including the vicious feud between the dead girl's overbearing grandmother and her neighbour, his wife and Asperger's sufferer son, widely regarded as the town freak because of his condition. Hedstrom's handling of the case is complicated by his feelings for his baby daughter, and the problems his girlfriend has adjusting to motherhood. The domestic aspects of this novel remind me of another Swedish crime writer, Liza Marklund, who also writes about the difficulties of combining a family life with a career investigating crime, although her protagonist is a female journalist.
At times I wasn't sure about Hedstrom as a lead detective, as he seemed to overlook obvious aspects of the investigation and sometimes floundered in his pursuit of the killer, but perhaps I just watch too much CSI and expect the detective to know exactly what they're doing. Hedstrom is only too human, which makes him a likeable enough character.
Throughout the novel the chapters alternate with another story set decades earlier, which follows a young woman from a wealthy family who falls pregnant outside of marriage and is forced to suffer a life of poverty. The two stories provide an interesting contrast and inform the progress of Hedstrom's present day investigation.
A decent introduction to another great Scandinavian crime writer and I will certainly get hold of the earlier books in this series, and look out for the next one.
on 18 March 2010
Camilla Lackberg is currently the country's most
popular author,in her native Sweden. 'The Stone
Cutter'is the third novel in the series ,and is
her most ambitious to date.
Detective Patrik Hedstrom has recently become a father
and his partner,Erica is experiencing post-natal
depression,when a young girl is found by a fisherman,
in his net---drowned.A post-mortem reveals it to be
murder.The dead girl's mother is a friend of Erica,
and as Patrik and his colleagues follow various lines
of inquiry,a can of worms is opened up in the close
community.Many of its inhabitants are ego-centric and suffer
from self-delusion,but we are cleverly kept in suspense,
as to the identity of the murderer until the end.
This is an intelligent .brave and meticulously plotted
crime thriller,where we also are left to consider the
often dreadful long-term damage caused by selfish and
Camilla Lackberg's first two books, "The Ice Princess" and "The Preacher" majored on Erica Falck, with major support from Patrik Hedstrom. This is very much Hedstrom's book, and Falck plays a lesser role. There remains a story arc around her sister that projects from the first two books, but you don't need to have read those to understand it, because there is a subtle recap.
It's a tale with an interesting construction, alternating between the present day and earlier times. A well to do lady has an affair with a stonecutter in the 1920's, and the question is how this intersects with the murder of the small daughter of one of Erica's friends. Lackberg captures very well the damage that the event causes to families but also to a small community. Unusually, there are a lot of unsympathetic characters, and the desire to give quite a few a good slap is very strong. There are incompetent policemen, selfish women, people who openly use others and people who interfere in others' lives. There are interesting comments on how we raise our children too.
The fifth star is withheld because if you've worked out the connection between the two stories, the last chapters lack suspense. But I'll look forward to the fourth book.
on 2 July 2012
I read the 2 previous Lackberg books and really couldnt understand why she was so popular , they were rather Midsummer murderish . Now Patrik Hedstrom is the main character rather than Erica and its so much better ride . Loved all the various unsympathetic villagers and the only reason I didnt give 5 stars is that I did guess the ending . I dont think it matters if you havent read the previous 2 books to enjoy this one, there is so much going on , so many little details of the characters lives , this is more than just a thriller . I could really see and feel Fjallbacka . Maybe its more of a womans novel than Nesbo or Larssen ; all the layers of voices including the kids , reminded me of the way some one like Jodie Piccoult can tell such a vivid tale , so even if thrillers arent your bag , I would definately give this a try.So many stories regarding a childs death are sentimental but this isnt .
on 21 April 2012
It is the possible the translation is not great but this is definitely one of the most poorly written books I have read. The language and sense are barely adult and although I rarely fail to finish a book this may well be a one of the few (I am currently half way through). When I read the Dragon Tattoo trilogy I was aware of the weakness of the translation and editing but that was overcome by the very strong storyline and characters. As for it bearing any resemblance to Jo Nesbo who is not that brilliant a writer, (but I have read all his books to date, again it may be down to the translation) there is no comparison. Nesbo's books have considerable pace and a cast of well rounded central characters. This book is written by an amateur and it shows, quite honestly the telephone directory has more tension. A series of one dimensional characters move through a one dimensional landscape being "curt" and giving various adjectival "looks" all without any meaning or logic. I would not waste your reading time on it, there are thousands of infinitely better books out there waiting for you. I have now finished the book and it is as bad as I thought half way through, I won't be reading another.
on 3 February 2016
The characters seem to develop as the series goes on. The plot as to who dunnit is pretty obvious and well sign posted but contains enough twists and turns that you may think it might be someone else.
I would probably elevate this to four stars, but I feel there is something lacking, and this is perhaps due to the translation process. The characters are a little two-dimensional. Having said that, you do find yourself picking it up and wondering 'whodunnit'. There are quite a few characters who we meet and find out about. The central characters are Patrik and his wife Erica. Patrik becomes involved in the case of a young girl who is found drowned, but it quickly becomes apparent she has been murdered. What makes this case even more shocking for him, is that he knows the girl and has recently become a father to a baby daughter himself. Running alongside this narrative, we also visit the past in a sort of mini-narrative that weaves its way through the main story and find out about a set of events which clearly bare relevance to the murder.
A young girl is found drowned in the sea near the small Swedish town of Fjallbacka and Detective Patrik Hedstrom and his team investigate when it turns out to be murder.
I found this an enjoyable and intriguing read with a largely believable gallery of small town characters.The book is very much about families and children, including Hedstrom's, and the author skillfully mixes the mystery with various scenes of the family lives of the people involved.Virtually every character, however small their part, receives a little back story to give them credibility: Mellberg the lazy police chief,Gosta the weary detective approaching retirement,Niclas the local doctor and his wife,Charlotte,the parents of the murdered child,Ercia,Hedstrom's wife,who is struggling to come to terms with the birth of her first child,all seem like real people.Because of this the mystery of who the murderer is and why they did it becomes less important than more plot driven books.The book alternates between short chapters about the life of the eponymous stonecutter and his wife and family in the 1920's and the modern day investigation and it is obvious that the former relates to the latter somehow, but we don't find out how until the last fifty pages or so.
Having said that,I didn't find all the characters entirely believable and there were times when it felt a bit too much like Midsomer Murders for my liking. I also felt that either the writing, or more likely the translation, was rather prosaic and I found too much of it rather stiff and formal, which did detract from my enjoyment.However,overall,I found it a satisfying read and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the books of Henning Mankell and Arnaldur Indridason.
The third in the series of crime/mystery novels by Camilla Lackberg is a pure thriller. Interweaving the stories of several families and differing years, she gives us a story of those that were left behind and those that are here today.
The town of Fjallbacka in Sweden, where everyone knows each other, or has a sense of the person. It is a resort town, but crime is usually left to break ins and that sort, but on this day, Patrik Hedstrom, Detective in the Fjallbacka Police Department, is called to a drowning of a young girl. This drowning is later found to be a murder. Patrik is familiar to those of us who have read the first two books. He is the knowledgable one in the police department. Mellon is in charge, but is working on getting promoted and leaves most of the work to his minions, and then he takes all the credit. This murder mystery involves several people that Patrik knows, but he is able to keep a close mind to his work, unlike some of his colleagues. Patrik and his wife, Erica, are the new parents of a little baby girl, Maja. Maja is a difficult baby, wanting to feed often and screaming in-between. Erica is having a difficult time with post-partum depression. One of the issues I have with this novel is that the depression is not treated as real. 'She'll snap out it," seems to be the theme of the day. We all know it doesn't work like that. Patrik is a real detective and works out each clue with his colleague, Martin. This leads him to some very interesting people, and varying scenarios are introduced into the plot. This book will keep you interested and wanting more. I thought I knew who the murderer was, but I was fooled until two thirds of the way in.
Camilla Lackberg has a writer's pen. She knows her subject, and all of the plots re realistic with some minor differences. I intend to follow her series. I have become a fan of Patrik and Erica.
Recommended. prisrob 05-01-13
The Stone Cutter is the third novel in the Fjällbacka series, first published in Sweden in 2005. This time there are two stories running in parallel woven into the plot, one set in the present day and one that goes back more than 80 years in the remote resort's past. Once again Patrik Edstrom and his partner Erica Falck are trying to solve crimes together, in this case that of a seven-year-old girl found drowned in a fisherman's net in the harbour. The post-mortem reveals that it was not an accidental drowning and local detective Patrik Hedstrom, who has just become a father, has the grim task of finding out who could be behind the pre-meditated murder of a child both he and Erica knew well. He knows the solution lies with finding the motive for such a heartbreaking homicide - and there are many other story threads running in tandem, such as that of Erica's sister, Anna, still trapped in an abusive relationship. The murdered girl's grandmother is locked in a serious dispute with her arrogant neighbour over property rights, and even the death of her grandchild cannot stop the petty bickering. An unknown assailant attacks a baby in a pram and stuffs ashes down the infant's throat. And then Erica and Patrik's baby goes missing.
So there's a lot going on in two very different time periods, but if anything there's too much of it and some of it lacks credibility anyway. It's as if the author has tried to put as much action into the story as possible even if her understanding of police procedural work is one of her strengths. Police ineptitude (notably that of those in the 1920s) stands out, and there is a perceived sense of padding on occasion, the narrative sometimes drifting away from the core plot. In this respect, for Nordic crime I would point to the likes of Henning Mankel, Jo Nesbo and Jussi Adler-Olsen as being a lot more convincing as crime story-tellers. As is often the case, this is a tale of darkness and savagery in its concept but relatively light and flaky in its execution.