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The Hand That Trembles    by Kjell Eriksson order for
Hand That Trembles
by Kjell Eriksson
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Minotaur, 2012 (2011)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Hand That Trembles (translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg) follows The Princess of Burundi, The Cruel Stars of the Night, and The Demon of Dakar as the fourth in Kjell Eriksson's mystery series starring homicide Inspector Ann Lindell.

There are two main threads to this novel. The first begins in 1993 (after a rather puzzling encounter is revealed in 1956), when a Swedish county commissioner, Sven-Arne Persson, simply disappears and is eventually declared dead. Twelve years later, a former neighbor spots him in Bangalore, India, leading a very different life.

The other mystery involves a naked foot that 'washed ashore outside Oregrund'. While Ann tries to track down the identity of the foot's owner, her colleague Berglund (recovering from brain surgery) decides to take another look at a decade old homicide, the killing of an old man (who tried to rebuild the Nazi movement in Sweden after WW II) that he never managed to solve.

Ann learns that her victim was a twenty-something Thai woman but identification proves difficult and her colleagues (who feel she is prone to lose her sense of perspective) urge her to drop the case. Of course she doesn't and her persistence and solid investigation lead to a solution. In parallel with this, Sven-Arne Persson voluntarily returns to Sweden and turns himself in for the murder of a 'war criminal'. But did he do it?

The Hand That Trembles is well developed, with credible and intriguing characters, and unusual crimes with convoluted resolutions. Inspector Ann Lindell is an engaging lead, both stubborn about her job and vulnerable in her personal life. If you enjoy Nordic noir, don't miss this series.

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