In The Cruel Stars of the Night, Erikkson returns to the Violent Crime Division of Uppsla, Sweden, first introduced in The Princess of Burundi. While the whole unit is back in this book, the story is centered much more on Anne Lindell and the victims.
Laura Hindersten's father is missing and the police don't seem all that concerned. The fact is, the man was an ornery, rigid, odd professor who seemed to go out of his way to alienate everyone. Yet, he is Laura's father and she wants to know what has become of him.
Petrus Blomgren is found bludgeoned to death in his barn. Ironically, when police investigate, they find what appears to be a suicide note that he left on his kitchen counter. Apparently he was killed as he was on his way to commit suicide. The elderly man, basically alone in the world accept for the older woman next door, had no enemies and few acquaintances. Who could possibly want Petrus dead?
While police are still puzzling over Petrus's death, Jan-Elis Andersson is found dead with his head bashed in. The police are faced with the murder of two old men, both lonely, both former farmers, both with no enemies. What sick killer is loose in Uppsala? What could possibly be the motive? Are these men's deaths connected in any way to the missing professor? Anne Lindell, Police Inspector with the Violent Crimes Division, is given the formidable task of finding the answers to these questions. And, she needs to do it quickly because the Queen is due to visit and it would not be good to have a serial killer on the loose.
Scandinavian mystery authors are enjoying enormous popularity in the United States of late. Possibly it is because they have perfected a slower paced form of the psychological thriller by ever so slowly peeling away the layers of the characters and their stories instead of relying on action to propel the plot forward. Certainly Eriksson's two books are excellent examples and well worth the attention of readers.
REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR
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