The tiny Swedish island of Sandhamn has always been a haven for lawyer Nora Linde. With trouble brewing in her marriage, she finds its comforts more welcome than ever, even in the depths of winter. That is, until her two young sons trip across a severed arm in the woods.
The boys’ gruesome discovery will once again connect Nora with her childhood friend Thomas Andreasson, now a local police detective. When the limb is identified as belonging to a twenty-year-old woman who disappeared without a trace months earlier, what had been a missing persons case takes on a whole new urgency.
Nora and Thomas delve deeply into the woman’s final hours, each of them wrestling not only with the case but with the private demons it awakens in them. As they do, they’ll find themselves drawn into the history of Sandhamn and the tensions that have been simmering just below the surface for more than a hundred years.
Guiltless is my third trip to Sandhamn, a small island off the Swedish coast with a population of only a couple of hundred people but – seemingly – a lot of murder. I have to say, it sounds beautiful there, but – given the death count – I would think twice before visiting.
This time, the victim is a young girl, missing for months before Nora’s boys find her body. She is an island native (vs. the visitors that flood the island in the summer) and so her death is possibly more shocking than it might have been otherwise and the small community are rocked to it’s core. The question is why and who?
It’s a question Nora finds herself in the middle of, not just because her sons found the body but because her best friend, Thomas, is investing the case. Nora and Thomas make an interesting team. They don’t investigate together as such but they do use each other to bounce ideas off, as well as supporting each other in life in general.
I like their relationship (purely platonic) and both Nora and Thomas as individuals and I think it is this that keeps bringing me back to the series. They are genuinely nice people, the type I would want to know. Their friendships seems natural and I can only commend Sten for how well she has created these two people.
Her plots too are pretty good. There is a simplicity to them when you first start reading but soon the twists start coming and you don’t really know where you are. Clever. At the same time, a word that does pop to mind when describing her novels is gentle because you aren’t being beaten over the head with wild card detectives or omnipotent killers. There is an old fashioned element here, a lot of who dunit and (thankfully) very little in the way of gruesome.
This style fits me perfectly more often now I find. I don’t like lots of gore with my crime and I am tiring of detectives that go out on their own and don’t listen to anyone else on their team, usually whilst not sleeping, not eating and drinking too much. There is none of that in Thomas, and I like it. I also liked the book – a lot – and definitely recommend it (including for those who haven’t read the first two – it’s definitely a standalone).
Note: I received this book in return for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.
Other books in the Sandhamn Series…