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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Review of "The Hanging Girl" by Jussi Adler-Olsen



3.5 Stars





Department Q is back.  Carl, Assad and Rose are joined by an additional member, Gordon.  This time they investigate a case from 17 years earlier.  Alberte Goldschmid was found hanging from a tree on Bornholm, one of the Danish islands.  The policeman, who found her body and became obsessed with discovering who was driving the vehicle that hit her, commits suicide but not before bequeathing the case to Department Q.  The investigation has them delving into a sun-worshiping cult from whose centre, the Nature Absorption Academy, people are disappearing. 

This is the sixth Department Q novel, and I would advise readers to read them in order since each one adds to character development.  As in the previous books, we learn a bit more about Assad’s mysterious past though not all is revealed.  Apparently there are four more books to the series.

The book excels at showing the road an actual police investigation takes – with twists, turns, and dead ends.  This does not make for a fast-paced story, but ensures a more realistic plot.  What also unifies the plot is the theme of jealousy.   The reader sees several examples of how people react to a perceived threat to a relationship.   The resolution does have some surprises, but logic is not sacrificed. 

As in the other books in the series, there are humourous touches.  The banter between the members of the department continues.

If you have not already discovered this Danish mystery series, do check it out.  As Queen Elizabeth II says in Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader, “Can there be any greater pleasure . . . than to come across an author one enjoys and then to find they have written not just one book or two . . . “?