Things have (ahem) been somewhat biased towards Danish and Scandinavian crime fiction in the last few posts. So I’m trying to broaden my horizons by means of a German crime novel by Jan Costin Wagner. But wait…his wife’s Finnish and the book’s set in Finland? So much for weaning myself off Nordic crime.
First line: Kimmo Joentaa was alone with her when she went to sleep.
I hadn’t heard of Costin Wagner before, but really liked Ice Moon (Eismond), his second novel, which features the young Finnish policeman Kimmo Joentaa. The novel opens with the death of Joentaa’s wife after a long illness, and in many ways is a study of grief that happens to be woven into a murder investigation. Each of the victims has been smothered in their sleep, and Joentaa becomes fascinated by these ‘eerily tranquil’ killings, while trying to absorb the loss of his own wife.
The novel’s nicely written, with a characteristic Nordic feel, and the both the investigator and the murderer’s story are explored with sensitivity. The Independent on Sunday described the book as ‘intriguing and touching’, which is spot on. A lovely little read.
Ice Moon is published in translation by Vintage Books (2006), and you can read the first few chapters online here.