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Fossum, Karin - 'When the Devil Holds the Candle' (Unabridged Audiobook) read by David Rintoul (translated by Felicity David)
Audio Cassette (2005) Publisher: BBC Audiobooks ISBN: 1405600020

WHEN THE DEVIL HOLDS THE CANDLE is the third appearance in English for Inspector Konrad Sejer. Sejer is more present than he was in HE WHO FEARS THE WOLF but still less though, than in DON'T LOOK BACK.

The story begins with an old woman going to the police station where she meets Sejer's assistant, Skarre, to tell him that she has news of a missing person. The woman doesn't make much sense and Skarre misunderstands her. The result of this poor communication is the death of a young man called Andreas.

The next chapter skips back a few days and begins the tale of how Andreas and his friend Zipp spend their day and night and how it leads to Andreas disappearing into the old woman's house and never coming out.

The narrative is interspersed with an account from the old woman about her life and what did happen in her house that night and afterwards.

Meanwhile Sejer is investigating a couple of other cases including the death of a young woman called Anita who was shot by her drunken boyfriend at a party. His personal life is changing - the doctor from HE WHO FEARS THE WOLF is spending a lot of time with him and he also has to cope with a death in the family.

It's fortunate for me that David Rintoul is such an excellent reader as I find this type of story quite nerve wracking to listen to. The listener knows what's going to happen but is (as always) powerless to change it and yet still wills the police to realise what's literally beneath their feet and to save the day.

It's a tragic tale but, as usual with Karin Fossum's books, it's a compulsive listen and compares favourably to the psychological chillers of Ruth Rendell such as A JUDGEMENT IN STONE.

WHEN THE DEVIL HOLDS THE CANDLE has recently won the Gumshoe Award of 'Best European Crime Novel published in the US in 2006'.

Karen Meek, England
May 2007

last updated 23/03/2008 20:36