An Inspector Konrad Sejer Mystery by Karin Fossum
Review: In early July 2005 Bonnie Hayden and her five-year-old son Simon are found murdered, stabbed to death. They had been camping for the night in an old dilapidated trailer they had spotted on farmland. The farmer didn't understand why they would want to spend the night there but gave them his permission. Besides the camper's usual old rotting furniture, all that was left in the trailer was a brown teddy bear, a sharp knife with a wooden handle and one large bloody print from a size fourteen shoe. There was no sign of a forced entry or a robbery. Why would anyone to such a horrible thing to a young mother and child? Inspector Sejer and his partner Jacob Scarre are on the case, in Hell Fire, the twelfth mystery in this series by Karin Fossum.
The detectives discovered that Bonnie worked as a home health aide for the elderly five days a week, doing general housekeeping and cooking. She was well-liked by those she cared for. Simon was a nervous kid and he hated going to daycare. For most of the day he kept to himself, not mingling with the others. He always wanted his mother with him.
In a parallel story starting in December 2004 there is another mother and son. Mass, the mother, was in her fifties and her son Eddie was twenty-one. They, too, were very close — almost too close. Eddie was very smart and although he was not diagnosed with anything special, there was something "off" about him and he was unable to work. Eddie, too, wanted his mother near him at all times. He asked his mother many times about his father i.e., who was he, why did he leave them, where was he now, etc. but Maas always shied away from the subject. Then when his mother was showing signs of illness he constantly worried about her death and what would become of him. They had no other relatives. Who would take care of him? He grew more obsessive every day about finding his father. He discovered that his father and new family had moved to Denmark. Will he find him there? If so, will his father acknowledge him as his son? Inspector Sejer is not often mentioned in this mystery, but he does finally become involved with Eddie and his trauma towards the end.
There isn't much of a mystery in Hell Fire and calling it such seems to be a considerable stretch. The crime is essentially solved by the second chapter, so one might reasonably ask, what was the point of the rest of the book. While Konrad Sejer is an engaging character, the others, whose stories are being told, are not. This is not a bad read by any means, but for fans looking for a police procedural or whodunit to solve, this is most definitely not it.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Hell Fire.
Acknowledgment: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt provided a copy of Hell Fire for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Hardcover), August 2010
ISBN-13: 9780151013661; ISBN-10: 0151013667
Location(s) referenced in Hell Fire: Norway
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Hell Fire by Karin Fossum — An Inspector Konrad Sejer Mystery
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: August 2016
List Price: $24.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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