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Open Grave    by Kjell Eriksson order for
Open Grave
by Kjell Eriksson
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2016 (2015)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Open Grave (translated by Paul Norlen) is the sixth in Kjell Eriksson's quirky Swedish police procedural series starring homicide Inspector Ann Lindell. Ann is a single mother of Erik. Committed and persistent on the job, she's undecided and vulnerable in her personal life. Ann is currently in a relationship with journalist Anders Brant whom she met in the previous episode, Black Lies, Red Blood.

As this noir psychological mystery opens, elderly Professor Bertram von Ohler, from an aristocratic Swedish family, is awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine. But soon his selection is challenged in the press and a series of troubling incidents in his neighborhood make it very clear that he is not well liked, perhaps with very good reason.

Given the high profile of the subject of these pranks (a stone thrown at the house, a skull in the mailbox), Ann and her colleague Sammy Nilsson are assigned to look into them, a task they find hard to take seriously. Ann soon finds a connection between the professor's long-time housekeeper, Agnes Andersson, and her own past, leading to her seeking out old friends once more.

There's no urgency to this mystery. It meanders along slowly, revealing more and more secrets (upstairs and downstairs) in the past of the eminent professor and his upper-class family. He stole credit from his likeable neighbor, a retired assistant professor - did the latter have anything to do with the pranks? And who is the gardener who seems to be keeping an eye on von Ohler's property?

Events - and tension - build to a surprising and violent crescendo. But the mystery is not solved (except by the reader) at the end of this book, though its unearthing seems imminent. Open Grave is an intriguing and unusual read.

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