About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sun Storm by Asa Larsson

Sun Storm by Asa Larsson – Rebecka Martinsson is grinding away day and night as a tax lawyer in Stockholm for the law firm of Meijer & Ditzinger when she gets a call from childhood friend, Sanna Strandgard, about the death of Sanna’s brother, Viktor. Sanna found the body and the police are going to question her and she is in shock and feeling overwhelmed. Rebecka says she will come north.

Rebecka returns reluctantly to her hometown of Kiruna in far northern Sweden as distant culturally as it is physically from Stockholm.

Viktor, known as Paradise Boy after a near death experience, had inspired a spiritual revival of the Free Churches of Kiruna. Physically beautiful he had devoted his life to God. People from all over Sweden came north to talk and pray with him. When he is found brutally murdered and mutilated in the beautiful new Crystal Church there is intense public interest in the murder.

Sanna’s explanation that she awoke in the middle of the night, felt something wrong and had gone to the Church at in the morning with her daughters where she found Viktor is sceptically viewed by the police.

One of the lead police officers is Inspector Anna-Maria Mella, nine months pregnant and very ready to deliver her fourth child. I do not believe I have read crime fiction where a police officer was investigating crime so late in a pregnancy. I thought of Frances McDormand being a very pregnant Sheriff in the movie, Fargo. With both book and movie set in the middle of winter my image of Anna-Maria is the movie image of McDormand.

Sanna is a loving, if mentally uncertain, mother of Lova and Sara. The young girls fit well into the story.

Back at the Church the three co-pastors are building a wall of secrecy around the Church. The investigators find it difficult to get information on the members of the church and their relationships with Viktor.

One of the reasons the book works well is that Larsson, as recommended by P.D. James in Talking About Detective Fiction, has created a powerful victim. A reader wants to know why the charismatic Viktor was killed.

Rebecka, obviously tightly wound and organized, is very frustrated with Sanna’s vague attitude toward life.

In the investigation Rebecka draws on her knowledge of Swedish tax law to develop her theory on why Viktor died. I thought of V.I. Warshawski more than Kinsey Milhone in the use of financial information by Rebecka.

There is no courtroom legal mystery. Rebecka barely appears in court for Sanna. I will sill count it as a legal mystery as Rebecka makes good use of her firm connections and knowledge of the law to help solve the murder.

I expect I will venture back to Sweden for further mysteries involving Rebecka. (May 25/12)


  1. Keep following Rebecka, definitely worth the pursuit.

    Although I've read all four of these books currently translated into English, I'd say the last one -- Until Thy Wrath Be Past -- is the best one.

    I don't recall much courtroom drama. Rebecka's stories don't dwell on that aspect of legal mysteries.

  2. Bill - I'm so glad you have started this series. It's one of my very favourites. One of the things I like about it is that Larsson doesn't gloss over the effect of trauma on people. I also like the development of Martinsson's character. May I suggest strongly that if you can, you read this series in order. It's much better appreciated that way.

  3. Very interesting perspective of one of my favourite crime novels (and series). I like your comment about the powerful victim and your analyses of Rebecka and Anna-Marie. One memorable character for me in this book is Sivving, the old neighbour.

    I have read the next 3 books in the series and have enjoyed them all very much indeed. There is not much in the way of courtroom drama in any of them but Rebecka does continue (in various forms) in the legal profession, which leads her into various difficult cases.

  4. I really like your choices in novels. Another book with a lot of great detail.

  5. kathy d.: Thanks for the comment. Just as there are different ways to private detectives there are different ways to be a lawyer in mysteries.

  6. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I will look to read them in order.

  7. Maxine: Thanks for the comment. Sivving reminds me of some old neighbours from when I grew up on the farm. He is a good character.

  8. Clarissa: Thanks for the kind words. It was a mystery rich in detail. I felt I was in northern Sweden while reading the book.