Sunday, January 13, 2008

Missing-Karin Alvtegen

Karin Alvtegen
Felony & Mayhem, Jan 2008, $24.00
ISBN: 9781933397863

In Stockholm, Sweden, thirty-two years old Sybilla Forsenstrom is the daughter of affluent but cold parents; after an undesirable pregnancy, she fled from her life of wealth. Now almost fifteen years later, she is a professional homeless person who knows all the tricks of the trade to get a hot meal, a hot shower, and a warm room when the city is freezing.

She pretends to be a businesswoman in Stockholm staying at the Grand Hotel. There she meets Jorgen Grundberg whom she cons into paying for her meal and a room. However, the next day he is found murdered. Soon after that another male is killed in the same MO including mutilation. The police believe Sybilla with her wig and more is the killer; she has become public enemy number one. Fearing that her homeless state means guilty, she eludes the cops with some help and begins investigating the homicides.

The woman on the run plot is intermingled with flashbacks to Sybilla's childhood especially the late teen years when she is forced to give away her son; her parents are icy pips. Thus readers understand her motives as a street person. Her inquiries are entertaining as she sees the clues differently than the cops. Newspaper clippings on the serial killings insure the heroine is the most sought after person in Sweden. Interestingly if this reviewer read this book before fairy tale stories claimed as true by the media but ultimately deblogged as made up, the clippings would feel wrong lacking official police sources yet now seem very accurate. Fans will enjoy this fine Swedish amateur sleuth tale.

Harriet Klausner