The Scarred Woman by Jussi Adler-Olsen, Translated by William Frost

Detective Carl Mørk, Assad, Gordon and Rose of Department Q of the Copenhagen Police Department are by now great friends of mine. Detective Mørk is a curmudgeonly old school cop, Assad is perceptive and thinks outside the box, Gordon is young and impressionable, and Rose is well Rose.

When last we left Department Q (this is book 7 in the series,) Rose had a psychotic break while helping to solve a case, and this has now impacted Department Q in many ways. She has been on leave and in hospital for a while now and the team is bereft, even Carl who thought he could barely stand her chattiness and her overwhelming perfume. Things are just not the same without Rose in the office and it makes all of them a bit cranky.

Then in a park an elderly woman is found murdered. The manner of her death is very similar to another unsolved murder from over a decade ago and so Department Q, which handles unsolved cases, is called in to help solve this one. At the same time across town, a group of young women who run in the same circles, are being systematically eliminated. Although on their face the two cases seem to be completely separate, details emerge which seem to indicate there is some connection. But the police and Department Q struggle to find any leads.  Soon the pressure to solve the two cases begins to rise to such an extent that even Department Q’s existence is on the line. While Mørk and his team dig deeper into the strange connections between the two cases, and try to save their jobs, they must also help Rose come to terms with her own potentially criminal past.

This series is one of my all time favorites. Although Scandinavian crime novels are often a bit dark, Adler-Olsen has created a very satisfying mix of both humor and suspense. Her plots are complicated but are filled with everyday details, The relationships between the characters are portrayed with a mixture of love and realism. These are not paragons of virtue, but real people with real issues, who rub each other the wrong way, but have somehow formed a bond that is supportive without being cloying. What I really appreciate is that in each book there is substantial character development based on both the impact of the cases they work on but also because of their interactions with each other. That we can sense their humanity, appreciate the humor as well as the suspense is of course because of Adler-Olsen’s great writing, but the fact that English speaking audiences can also appreciate it is because of William Frost’s gifted translation. If you haven’t read a Department Q novel before, you should definitely start as soon as possible!

Brenda’s Rating ****( 4 Out of 5 Stars)

Recommend this book to: Marian, Sharon and Keith.

Book Study Worthy? Sure, why not!

Read in ebook format.

This entry was posted in Detective novel, Fiction, Mystery, Psychological Mystery, Series, Suspense and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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