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Thursday, 7 May 2015

‘The Arc of the Swallow’ Sisssel-Jo Gazan



Published by Quercus,
13 November 2015.
ISBN: 978-0-5738-771-4

Professor Kristian Storm was fighting to get his controversial research results accepted. He’s proved that a particular vaccine actually increases deaths from other diseases ... but then he shreds his work and hangs himself. Everyone’s willing to accept his death as suicide except former detective Soren Marhauge and Storm’s assistant Marie Skov.

This substantial book gives you two separate crime stories in one: the search for Storm’s killer and the inside workings and secrets of Marie’s family. The third-person narration centres on Soren and Marie, and at times this can be slightly confusing, as you go back in time to find out, for example, what Soren was doing while you followed Marie. Both are absorbing characters, and by the end of the novel you’ve come to know them really well. Soren has been persuaded to take promotion, and is bitterly unhappy in his desk job, and worried about his relationship with his tempestuous girlfriend. Marie is recovering from breast-cancer, and is surrounded by a dysfunctional family, who have never recovered from the childhood death of her twin brother. Soren and Marie each have a young child, and these scenes were touchingly handled. The plot is involved, with a number of surprising twists and turns, and the scientific background of vaccine research in the developing world interesting and clearly explained.

A good cosy. This novel is the sequel to The Dinosaur Feather, which is referred to during the book, so if you’re looking for a new Danish author to try, you might like to start with that one.
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Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Sissel-Jo Gazan is a biology graduate from the University of Copenhagen. The Dinosaur Feather was her breakthrough novel, having sold in sixteen countries and named the Danish Novel of the Decade. It is followed up by The Arc of the Swallow, which won the Danish Readers Book Prize in 2014. She lives in Berlin.





Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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