Review DEEP AS DEATH By Katja Ivar
The second murder investigation by the Finnish detective, Hella Mauzer, draws you in deep. The setting is Finland, in the mid-1950s, but the Prologue starts us with a crime in 1935 that figures in with the plot much later. At the time, a woman, after being chased across an iced-over lake, fell through as her tormentor watched her die.
Jumping to February of 1953 where women are once again being drowned, now in the icy Helsinki Harbor. The victim is a prostitute this time, by the name of Nellie. The homicide chief, Jokela, deems the case low-priority because of the occupation of the victim, and lets Hella work on it. Hella was a police detective until she was booted off the force and is now a private investigator. A second victim escapes, but doesn’t have much information. The next dead woman, however, is Nellie’s madam, Klara Nylund. Klara had hired Hella to investigate the death of Nellie, giving Hella extra incentive to find the killer.
Meanwhile, nothing else is going right in her life. She realizes that the married man she has been seeing for several years, Steve Collins, isn’t serious about her and has been lying about leaving his wife. Hella has looked forward to being the stepmother of his daughter Eva and is devastated by the breakup. However, she stops hurting quite so deeply when she finds his name in Klara’s book of clients, which she is using to help her try to solve the crime. Her old partner, Mustonen, has ambitions in the department, but is carrying deep secrets of his own. Another complication is that Anita, a former associate, abruptly moves in with her and starts training as a detective. Everything is a mess.
It takes a lot for Hella to crack this case, and she discovers secrets that make her blood run cold and put her life in danger. I loved this dark, Nordic work, but I recommend reading it with a sweater on.
Review DEEP AS DEATH by Katja Ivar
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