Monday, February 17, 2014

The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

NPR Books podcasts recently introduced me to another Scandinavian mystery series. Set in Denmark and other points in Eastern Europe, this series is written by the team of Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis and features the nearly-anorexic, time-obsessed Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, mother, and defender of the weak and powerless. I started with The Boy in the Suit Case.

In this first book of the series, as a favor to a friend, Nina Borg retrieves a mysterious suitcase from a train station locker and is instantly involved in a very dangerous case of human trafficking. Of course, as a reader you wonder what kind of a person would agree to fetch an unexplained suitcase. You also ask why the friend would trust Borg with the case and its contents, a three year old boy. Borg has her questions that need quick answers. The genius of the story is that there are always questions that need answering.

Borg is not the only character that we follow. Nearly every chapter draws our attention to some other player in the drama. It could be confusing if the authors did not draw their characters so well. The mother searching for the boy gets nearly as many pages as Borg.

With its short chapters and intense setting, The Boy in the Suitcase will be a very quick read for many mystery fans. I found it hard to put down, as I continually thought "I can read the next short chapter now, too." Having finished, I now wonder how Borg, not a natural investigator, will again become involved in mystery and crime.

Kaaberbol, Lene and Agnete Friis. The Boy in the Suitcase. Soho Crime 2011. 313p. ISBN 9781569479810.

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