A welcome UK appearance for a highly regarded entry in the Scandinavian crime fiction stakes. A sense of hope is fitfully present in the work of Helene Tursten. The chorus of praise for her atmospheric writing has been growing in volume for some time. Tursten was born in 1954 in Gothenburg. Before her debut with the intriguing Detective Inspector Huss/Den krossade tanghästen (1998), the author worked in the somewhat less romantic profession of dentistry. The books in the impressive Irene Huss series have all been bestsellers in Sweden, and the German editions have similarly sold more than 1.5 million copies. The first six volumes of the series have been filmed (to some critical acclaim) by Illusion Film in Sweden in cooperation with German ZDF, with six new episodes filmed during 2010 and 2011. In early 2010, Tursten was shortlisted for the prestigious French literature prize 11e édition du Prix SNCF du polar, for the French translation of her novel Tatuerad torso (Tattooed Torso). Her translators include Laura Wideburg, the ever-reliable Steven Murray (as here) and Katarina Tucker.
To this writer, Tursten said: ‘In my work, I’m always driven by narrative – always and ever the narrative. The evocation of my region (Gothenburg, on the west coast) will always be an integral part of the novel, but only as it arises from the demands of the plotting. I’ve discovered on many occasions that people abroad are greatly interested in the natural locales of Sweden – and there is great foreign curiosity concerning everyday life in the country. I’m happy to supply these two requirements.’
This first book in the series is the perfect entry point, with Huss investigating a death following a balcony plunge in Göteborg and finding dark secrets in Sweden’s past.
Detective Inspector Huss by Helene Tursten is published by Soho Press