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Bogman by R I Olufsen

Book cover

Bogman

This nordic noir story, Bogman, reminds me a little of Sjöwall and Wahlöö’s classic Martin Beck series. It doesn’t have the same degree of social commentary but it is as much about the work of the investigative team as about it’s leader, Tobias Lange, and the underlying pace is a solid investigation rather than a nail-biting thriller. Furthermore, like Beck, Lange doesn’t live an idyllic life but is polite and dependable unlike the more volatile protagonists of many other novels in the genre.

The investigation starts with the discovery of a partially preserved body in a bog and it doesn’t give too much away to share that it doesn’t take long before it becomes clear that this calls for a police investigation rather than an archaeological one. Like the characters, the writing isn’t at the extremes of brilliance, but its quiet competence shouldn’t be underestimated, resulting in an eminently readable novel and one that has clearly been cafefully crafted. You will find all the things you would expect from an investigative novel, including shifting suspicions, trails that only reveal the next clue rather than the final solution and some of the features of the early part of the story that have a strong bearing on later twists. If you like a mystery story that isn’t too gruesome you will most likely enjoy this one.

By the way, it turns out that the author is actually Roisin McAuley writing under a pseudonym. Does that mean that it isn’t really nordic noir at all? I think it should still be counted but it provides an interesting commentary on the popularity of the genre that it now attracts authors who come from outside of the setting and who, as far as I can tell, write about their chosen Scandanavian lands perfectly well.

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