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Wednesday 23 April 2014
‘The Golden Calf’ by Helen Tursten
This novel is set in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. It begins with the murder of the extremely wealthy Kjell B:son Ceder and the discovery of his body by his wife, the beautiful and much younger Sanna Kaegler-Ceder in the couple's luxurious seaside villa. The crime is investigated by Detective Inspector Irene Huss and her longtime friend and colleague Detective Inspector Tommy Persson and other members of the team under the direction of the grumpy Superintendent Sven Andersson. Ceder's money had come not only from the various hotels that he owned but also from his first wife who had died in a rather dubious boating accident which had never been properly investigated. Then the team are called on to investigate two more murders: Joachim Rothstaahl and Philip Bergman. That investigation reveals that both men had business links with Sanna in an online venture that gone down in the dot.com boom and bust of the late 90s. It seems that Sanna has some explaining to do; furthermore, the revelation through DNA analysis that Ceder was not the biological father of her little boy Ludwig raises queries about the nature of the relationship between him and Sanna. Moreover, another person involved in the ill-fated dot.com venture, Thomas Bonetti, had taken out a sizeable amount of the company's capital but had then disappeared – where is he? The facts as Irene unravels them reveal wrong-doing in the past and become more and more complex. Her search for the truth take her to Paris and an encounter with the less than helpful Inspector Verdier of the Paris police and to considerable danger to Irene herself.
This is a good addition to the ranks of Scandinavian crime fiction with an interesting array of believable characters. The account of the rise and fall of the ill-fated dot.com venture is convincing and comprehensible. Recommended.
Reviewer: Radmila May
Other novels by the author: Detective Irene Huss, The Torso, The Glass Devil, Night Round, The Fire Dance
Helene Tursten is the author of the Irene Huss series. The series has been adapted into a film and TV series in Sweden. She lives in Goitenborg.