The Ice Princess (Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck, Book 1) Paperback – 1 April 2008
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|Paperback, 1 April 2008||
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- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0007253931
- ISBN-13 : 978-0007253937
- Dimensions : 15.3 x 3.2 x 23.4 cm
- Publisher : HarperCollins (1 April 2008)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
Praise for 'The Ice Princess':
'Heart-stopping and heart-warming, The Ice Princess is a masterclass in Scandinavian crime writing' Val McDermid
'Camilla Läckberg is a more than welcome addition to the growing ranks of Scandinavian crime writers translated into English. With its sharp emotional nuances and psychological insight, The Ice Princess builds in suspense as the author turns her clear eye on the buried secrets and contemporary relationships of a small, isolated community. I predict that Fjallbacka and its crimes and people will soon be as poplular here as they are in her native Sweden' Peter Robinson
European reviews for 'The Ice Princess':
'The plot is simply superb, in an almost Agatha Christie-style. The cast of characters emerge with clarity and feel quite genuine… secrets come out in the 331-page book that bring about more things than murder. I read it in one go. A book that you can't put down' Sala Allehanda
'Camilla Läckberg is a Crime Queen' Bild am Sontag
'Strong portrayals and ice-cold suspense from Sweden's new Agatha Christie' My Life
'This is unputdownable. Läckberg keeps the thrills coming until the very end' Viva
'Camilla Läckberg was voted Swedish Writer of the Year for 2005. Bring on the next one!' Crimezone.nl
'An amazingly mature, well thought-out and exciting criminal novel…Läckberg stands out as the best first-time offender of the year' Jury
About the Author
Camilla Lackberg is a worldwide bestseller renowned for her brilliant contemporary psychological thrillers. Her novels have sold over 20 million copies in 55 countries with translations into 37 languages.
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The story opens in winter with the discovery of the frozen body of a woman in the bath of her unheated house in the small fishing village of Fjällbacka, on the west coast of Sweden. Was it a suicide or was it murder?
We encounter quite a large number of characters quite early in the story and I found it necessary to create a list to help me keep track of who was who. This later proved very useful as the various threads of the story converged.
I did not find this book a particularly quick read. This was in part because the chapters are very long and within each chapter one has to keep track of a number of different threads to the story in case they are central to solving the crime.
The story spends some time relating the back story of the main characters, most of whom are quite plausible. However, I felt Superintendent Bertil Mellberg was rather cartoonish and I found the behaviour of its two main characters Erica Falck and Patrik Hedström at times quite mindboggling.
Another aspect I found irritating was the way the author would reveal the discovery of a clue but not tell you what the actual clue was until later in the story. As a budding armchair detective, I found this delay in revealing ‘evidence’ exasperating.
On the other hand, there are a number of positive aspects to this novel. The setting is very atmospheric, centring on location and time of year. The exploration of a number of different aspects of human behaviour covered in the story (such as family relationships, the importance of propriety in small communities, alcoholism, paedophilia, loneliness and romance) provide essential and interesting dimensions to the story.
If you enjoy police procedural novels then this story may disappoint as it does not really focus on how the police conduct their investigations. If you like fast paced, action stories then this story will fall short of expectations. However, if you enjoy atmospheric crime stories with a focus on the everyday lives of its characters and uncovering why people act the way they do, then you will probably find this story quite captivating, as I did.
This is the first book in the Patrik Hedström and Erica Falck series. I'd previously read a later one, The Stranger , and enjoyed it a lot, so wanted to go back and read the books in order. Quite often the first book in a series can be disappointing as so much time has to be given over to character development, and authors sometimes take a couple of books to really get into their stride. But I didn't feel that at all in this case - this is an excellent debut, with a strong plot and with two main characters who very quickly become people the reader can like and care about.
Patrik and Erica's new found feelings for each other are handled beautifully. There's enough humour to stop it from being at all soppy and Läckberg makes the whole romance element quite straightforward - no bitter, vengeful ex-partner, no misunderstandings etc. The whole thing comes over as very natural and realistic and, because both characters are strong and attractive, the match feels like one that will last. I loved the way the viewpoint shifts between them so that we are able to see what each is thinking. At one point as Patrik is on his way to Erica's, we see her rushing about desperately changing clothes and re-doing her make-up in an attempt to achieve that carelessly casual natural look - and when he arrives the view shifts to him, and we see him being completely fooled by it and thinking she's one of these rare women who doesn't need to try. Lovely!
By contrast, the plot concerning the reasons for Alex's murder is quite dark, and there is a sub-plot concerning Erica's sister who is in an abusive marriage, so there's plenty of meat in the story. Although Erica does a little unofficial poking around, the bulk of the investigation is done as a police procedural. Fjällbacka is a tiny place, so the police aren't used to dealing with murders, and apart from Patrik most of them would rather not have their routines disrupted. So Patrik more or less takes the case over, and we see him as a dedicated officer without any tediously maverick tendencies. On the downside, Patrik's boss is drawn as the stereotypical incompetent bully in this book, though from memory that aspect seemed to be toned down quite a bit by the time of the later book that I read.
The translation by Steven T Murray is excellent - it doesn't read like a translation at all, and none of the touches of humour get lost. Well written, with two likeable leads characters and a great mix of light and shade in the plot, this one has left me looking forward eagerly to catching up with the rest of the series.
Erica is a little self-deprecating and amateur-sleuthish, rather out of writer's curiosity; the story is lighter (than Mankell); easier to follow (than Larsson); more vulnerable (than Child) and more homely (!) (than Flynn). And with Patrick, we all want him to be successful and happy too.
I really enjoyed Camilla Lackberg's book and as it is the first of the series, I will be seeking out the next one soon, if only to see how she manages to create another in the series where Patrick and Erica can work together and also how their relationship infields, for I think they will be stuck together from now on.
The book starts with a suicide that is actually murder and we go far back in the life of the victim to learn of the history that led to her murder. The book is well written with plausible characters and the descriptions of the Swedish winter make you feel as if you're actually there.
We learn about how Patrik and Eruca meet and I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series and seeing how their relationship develops against the backdrop of further crimes.
As I inadvertently read book 5 first I know that Camila Lackberg's style develops and improves but this is a very good first novel..