Here is another Scandinavian detective for our attention: Lars Winkler who (the strapline of this impressive novel tells us) is a loner, single father, former punk and drug addict – and the most dedicated detective in Copenhagen. In fact author (in Paul Russell Garrett’s able translation) proves to be a writer of real distinction, and this is a striking crime debut. A young prostitute is discovered murdered in Copenhagen, her eyes surgically removed (long-time readers of Scandicrime will be aware that this is a recurrent motif – also to be found in such books as Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s Last Rituals) and when another body is found mutilated in the same fashion, tenacious detective Lars Winkler is on the case. There is a strong sense of place here, but the real hallmark of the novel is its generous helpings of sharp characterisation – not least in its complex protagonist. The House that Jack Built arrives festooned with praise from a variety of sources, and it’s good to report that these encomiums are (largely speaking) justified.

The House that Jack Built is published by Spiderline

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