The Murder of Harriet Krohn

Karin Fossum's (Broken) seventh Inspector Sejer novel, newly translated into English, departs from the traditional whodunit model: The Murder of Harriet Krohn is narrated by Charlo Torp, the man who murdered Harriet. Charlo, a gambling addict desperate to pay his debts and reconnect with his estranged daughter, decides to rob an elderly woman. He uses a bouquet of flowers to entice Harriet to open her door and heads straight for her valuables. To his surprise, she fights back, and in the ensuing struggle Charlo beats her to death.

The next morning Inspector Sejer is called in, and his one clue is the elaborate bouquet, conspicuously out of place in Harriet's spartan home. Charlo, torn between agonizing guilt, fear of being caught and joy at reuniting with his daughter, offers only fleeting glimpses of Sejer. Though the novel is part of a well-established series, this change in perspective makes it an easy one for readers new to Sejer and his cases.

Charlo's rash, unplanned action makes the basis for a haunting story that will inspire readers to wonder what any of us could be capable of doing. Charlo's reminiscences--of his normal childhood, his early years as a father, the slow spiral of addiction and his final descent into murder--are a terrifyingly believable progression. In spite of the lack of a typical hunt for the killer, The Murder of Harriet Krohn provides an irresistible mystery: whether or not Charlo can learn to live with his actions. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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