One of the most prominent citizens of Goteborg, Sweden, plunges to his death off an apartment balcony, but what appears to be a "society suicide" soon reveals itself to be a carefully plotted murder. Detective Inspector Irene Huss finds herself embroiled in a complex and high-stakes investigation. As Huss and her team begin to uncover the victim's hidden past, they are dragged into Sweden's seamy underworld of street gangs, struggling immigrants, and neo-Nazis in order to catch the killer.
Goteborg, Sweden, is the setting for this first in a promising series starring Irene Huss, detective inspector in a police force not yet comfortable with women officers. When the apparent suicide of a businessman turns out to be murder, Huss and her colleagues follow a tangled trail that takes them from the haunts of the ostentatiously wealthy to the underworld of drug-dealing biker gangs. The mystery itself is mostly routine, but the overview of Swedish society, its liberal foundation cracked by racism, drugs, and a new wave of vicious crime, forms a compelling backdrop for the story, drawing on the same tensions that fuel Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series. Wallander is considerably more world weary than Huss, but the younger feminist investigator brings her own set of complexities to the table, as she feels her own family endangered by the same forces that threaten society. Translator Murray's feel for nuance, notable in his renderings of several Mankell novels, is equally evident here.