The Second Deadly Sin
A Rebecka Martinsson Mystery by Åsa Larsson
Review: After hunters track down and kill a bear they believe is responsible for mauling a dog, they cut it open to confirm their suspicion only to discover human bones in the animal's stomach, in The Second Deadly Sin, the fifth mystery in this series featuring Swedish prosecuting attorney Rebecka Martinsson.
While the police try to identify who the victim is, a woman is found murdered in the nearby town of Kiruna. Rebecka is assigned to investigate. But before she can make much headway, she's pulled off it, replaced by District Prosecutor von Post, who sees an open-and-shut investigation that he can take credit for solving. Rebecka is not deterred, however, and continues to look into the case. Separately, a second storyline from circa World War I is interweaved into the modern murder mystery, one that tells the story of a hopeful young school teacher arriving in Kiruna, only to be met with a most brutal fate.
The Second Deadly Sin is typical of many modern Swedish — indeed, many Nordic — crime novels in that it is far, far too long, typically using three paragraphs (or sentences or words) where one would suffice. The dual storylines, set nearly a century apart (but which are related), simply magnify the problem. Of the two subplots, the one set in the present day, though more complex in its development than the backstory, is by far the more intriguing. The characters, too, are well-drawn, interesting, and generally engaging. Structured primarily as a combination police procedural/whodunit-style mystery, and easily read as a stand-alone, this entry in the series will likely appeal most to those already inclined to accept the often roundabout, especially verbose method of storytelling that seems expected of Nordic authors.
Finally, the English title may be confusing to some readers, as it seems to refer to one of the seven deadly sins. (Gluttony is most frequently mentioned as the "second deadly sin".) A more literal translation of the Swedish title Till offer åt Molok — "A Sacrifice to Moloch" — may have also been confusing, but at least it is more appropriate to the context of the story itself.
Acknowledgment: Quercus provided a copy of The Second Deadly Sin for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Second Deadly Sin: Sweden
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The Second Deadly Sin by Åsa Larsson — A Rebecka Martinsson Mystery
Publisher: MacLehose Press
Publication Date: August 2014
List Price: $26.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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