“My apologies for being five minutes late,” Walter reiterated. “There was wind resistance on the way here.”
Grumpy, unpredictable detective Walter Gröhn is one of Anger Mode's many strengths, as is Stefan Tegenfalk's humour.
Gröhn is very much from the outsider mould of police investigator, whose genius for results is tightly knotted to outlandish and sometimes unethical techniques.
Walter’s lack of social skills did not, however, prevent him from having the highest total of solved murders in his thirty-five-year-long career. With the aid of long experience and an unorthodox mindset that often set aside legal conventions, he was able to sustain a high percentage rate of closed cases. This was unfortunately at a cost to his own career, which had stalled at the rank of detective inspector. He was not considered to be “potty trained” and sufficiently diplomatic for the position of chief inspector.
Not surprisingly Walter, gains a reputation for being brilliant yet impossible to work with. Here, the rough edges are polished or sharpened by a (reluctant , of course) partnership with heiress, Jonna de Brugge, who shuns family richs for an elite investigation squad.
We are told:
One of (Gröhn's) most well-known cases involved the murder of the Hungarian twins, which, after a long and prolonged investigation, proved to be the work of a third, and completely unknown, triplet brother.
I rather like this, in that is sounds like a plot for a book that I would hate to read. As a plot device, twins are bad enough, but when number three comes from nowhere it is has 'two-stars at best and try someone else' writ large.
Tegenfalk is a knowing author, who is happy to reference other crime novels.
Even so, Tor was on his guard when he bent over him to see how hard he had taken the blow. He had read the Lisbeth Salander novels and knew not to judge a book by its cover. If a thin anorexic could floor a blond giant, then this little fatso could take Tor
Jonna felt her pulse quicken as things started to fall into place. This was better than the ending of a John le Carré novel.
Le Carre himself might have devised a cunning device by which despicble journalist, Jörgen Blad, from the newspaper, Kvällspressen, communicates with a man he is successfully blackmailing.
Jörgen had therefore started a public website, which he named “StockholmInsight”, under an assumed name. He hoped it was totally meaningless and uninteresting for anybody who accidentally surfed to the page. The site comprised a few photographs of Stockholm and a description of a few points of interest. In one corner of the page, there was a header that read, “Café of the week”. Under it, Jörgen posted the name of the café where the meeting with his informant would take place. The time and date were posted on the left-hand side of the page, in the form of fabricated events that were supposedly happening during the week.
Much of Anger Mode takes place around Stockholm, but there is mention of Skåne (but not of Ystad's favourite detective). As in the Martin Beck series, for a police officer to be sent to the Deep South is a cruel fate indeed.
“It’s a terrible mess down there in Landskrona. Many believe that it’s becoming a lawless region."
“You could never have made me go down to that Skåne dung heap. Not even if you asked me nicely.”
I am helping to organise a conference in Landskrona in October...
- Anger Mode is expertly reviewed by Maxine Clarke at Amazon.