This award winning Swedish mystery series has garnered critical and commercial success in other countries.
Scandinavian thrillers have quickly found an audience among American crime and mystery lovers with the incredible success of Henning Mankell, Steig Larson, and Jo Nesbo, to name a few.
However, not all Swedish mysteries translate well to American audiences, and sadly, this might be one of those times.
This novel is simply too understated and slow, with bland characters, and very little action.
When Professor Bertram Von Ohler is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the field of medicine, it ignites a storm of fury from colleagues, neighbors, employees, and family, and becomes the catalyst that brings long buried resentments and crimes to the surface, prompting some to seek revenge against the professor.
What starts off looking like childish pranks could lead to something far more sinister. Enter Police Inspector Ann Liddell, who is called in to investigate. When Ann arrives at the professor’s home, she is surprised to discover a member of his staff is an old acquaintance, which opens up a floodgate of memories for Ann, as she learns an old friend is gravely ill.
First of all, there appears to be a little confusion in regards to the number of books in the series, and how many have been translated into English. Some sites have this novel listed as the sixth in the series, while others have it listed as the tenth. I never could decipher the true order of the series, but judging by the number of books translated into the English language, this book would be the sixth book in the series.
This information is significant if you want to know all about Ann’s background because some of the installments have yet to be translated, forcing the reader to deal with some gaps in the story, especially in regards to Ann's personal life.
But, the main problem I faced with this story was the mind numbing pace, which is as slow as molasses in January. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, happens until the final chapters of the book. When we finally see a little action, it all ends up exposing a dark secret, with a little bit of a surprising twist, but not much else.
The inspector did not even make an appearance until very deep into the book. When she finally does show up, her primary concern is with her dying friend and the lamentations of losing the love of her life due to an error in judgment. It seems as though the secondary characters did more crime solving than Ann.
The dialogue is flat, with little inflection, but this could be chalked up the translation, however.
The last quarter of the book ties up all the loose threads, and actually becomes somewhat interesting, but getting to that point was very difficult. I fear many readers, who are used to a quicker pace, will give up on this one before they get to the good parts.
This is not exactly a crime novel per se’, but more about the people surrounding the unpopular professor, and is probably not what most people are looking for in a crime novel.
I recommend this book to fans who are following along with the series, but if you aren't this book is not a good starting point.
Kjell Eriksson has made a huge splash around the globe with his series set in Sweden. his native country. Already a star in Europe and the Nordic countries, Kjell Eriksson has American critics raving.
In Open Grave, Professor Bertram von Ohler has been awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine. This news causes problems in his otherwise quiet upper-class neighborhood. Not everybody is happy with the choice of winner. Mysterious incidents start to occur. Boyish pranks befall the police, and what follows is certainly not innocent amusement. Police inspector Ann Lindell becomes involved in the case and immediately is transported back into her past.
Eriksson has been nominated for the Best Swedish Crime Novel five times. Open Grave, the sixth book in his critically acclaimed and internationally loved series, is a chilling novel about renunciation and revenge.