Thursday, April 15, 2010

Unseen by Mari Jungstedt

Title: Unseen
Author: Mari Jungstedt
Translated from the Swedish by: Tiina Nunnally
ISBN: 9780552155090, Corgi Books, 2008
Genre: Police Procedural, #1 Inspector Anders Knutas mystery
Rating: B+

First Line: The evening was turning out better than expected.

No couple wants their party to end with thrown punches and jealous accusations, but the party thrown by Per and Helena in their cabin on Gotland ended exactly that way. The next morning, Helena's body is found-- she's been the victim of a brutal axe murder. Normally a quiet island that bustles when all the summer visitors arrive, Gotland puts Inspector Anders Knutas in charge of the investigation. Clues may be slow to piece together, but two more grisly murders follow in rapid succession. Knutas has his work cut out for him, and he has yet to decide if the presence of reporter Johan Berg is more help or hindrance.

After reading two of Johan Theorin's novels which are also set on the island of Gotland, I felt as though I were already familiar with the location, but Jungstedt's focus is on the towns and not the natural world. Through her descriptions of communities like Visby, I am now more aware of the history of the area.

I enjoyed Jungstedt's characterizations of Knutas and his wife as well as the reporter Johan Berg, but the secondary characters were two-dimensional and didn't really come to life. I also found the killer's motivations to be a bit cliched, and the police slow to jump at some rather obvious clues.

On the whole, however, I enjoyed Unseen and thought it shows quite a bit of promise. I'll be looking for other books in this series.


  1. Cathy - Thanks, as always, for this review. I'm not as familiar with Jungstedt as I wish I were, but this looks interesting...

  2. Cathy, I've had this one on my shelf for quite some time. Maybe I will move it from the shelf to the pile. LOL

    I got it when I was in a frenzy to acquire translated mysteries. Still got a few of them to go. Thanks for sharing and reminding me that I own this book!!

  3. Adding both Jungstedt and Johan Theorin to my list. Ever since I visited Denmark, I've been in love with Scandinavia.

  4. I read this one last year and did like it but wasn't "wowed"... Like you though, I'll probably check out another in the series and see how it evolves.

  5. Margot K-- It is interesting. I hope you'll give this author a try.

    Kay-- You're welcome. I think any of us with TBR piles and shelves need to be reminded of what we've got now and again. I know I do!

    Beth-- And the Scandinavians are writing all these wonderful novels to tempt us!

    Iliana-- It seems to me that another friend said that the second was much better, but I may have a faulty memory.


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