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The Caller (Inspector Konrad Sejer #10)

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,989 Ratings  ·  328 Reviews
One mild summer evening Lily and her husband are enjoying a meal while their baby daughter sleeps peacefully in her pram beneath a maple tree. But when Lily steps outside she is paralysed with terror. The child is bathed in blood.

Inspector Sejer is called to the hospital to meet the family. Mercifully, the baby is unharmed, but her parents are deeply shaken, and Sejer spen
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 7th 2011 by Harvill Secker (first published 2009)
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Susan Yes, though it is a bit dark, like all of us Norwegians...I've read two or three of her earlier Inspector Sejer books, have liked them all. I am…moreYes, though it is a bit dark, like all of us Norwegians...I've read two or three of her earlier Inspector Sejer books, have liked them all. I am listening to this one on CD from the library. I always like to have one going for the car...Almost finished with it.(less)
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Murder Most Cold
61st out of 141 books — 315 voters
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Community Reviews

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Lukasz Pruski
Sep 15, 2012 Lukasz Pruski rated it really liked it
Norway's Karin Fossum is one of my most favorite authors. She writes about things that interest me, and she writes in a way that is close to perfect for my taste. I do not care much about plot, and do not need fast action. Ms. Fossum writes about Little Things That Are Important In Life, and she writes about them beautifully.

"The Caller" is another lovely, little, quiet book, where seemingly nothing much extraordinary happens for the most part. And yet, people get sick, divorce, and die, becaus
Lisa Beaulieu
Oct 23, 2012 Lisa Beaulieu rated it did not like it
I don't think it is the book, or I should say, the writing, that merits one star. Karin Fossum is who she is - she writes offbeat quiet books about oddballs with compassion and yadayadayada ... I think I am just done with the oddball genre. Halfway through this book I found myself flipping to get back to the parts about Sejer and Skarre, the 2 detectives, who are delightful characters. I just couldn't take any more mopey pov from the nut case(s)(there's always more than just the one). I realized ...more
Oct 05, 2012 Candace rated it really liked it
Both Karin Fossum and Barbara Vine have that gift of creating characters who leap off the page and into full realization from the first time they appear. Their ability to build empathy for their most troubled creations which makes their novels especially rich and affecting.

In "The Caller" someone is playing cruel pranks in the neighborhood. These tricks are of the sort that undermine the victims' basic sense of safety and trust in the world, no one is hurt, but their lives will never be the same
Mar 28, 2016 Carmen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
How would you feel at his place?

And here we go - another psychological thriller from cold north. I was impressed by the annotation, because I like crime stories with teenagers and doesn't matter if they're offenders or victims. Yes, so little it takes to happiness.

As we already know, the main ''provocateur'' (by the way, that's how they translated the name of this book in my country) is Johnny Beskow, who doesn't have enviable life. He never knew his father and his mother - alcoholic, doesn't ca
Mark Rubinstein
Sep 06, 2012 Mark Rubinstein rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime-fiction
Okay, this is a Norwegian mystery, one of the many Scandinavian novels flooding the market since the success of the Millennium trilogy.

The premise is interesting. A 17 year-old boy with a deprived homelife sets about playing malicious pranks on people in and around his village. Some of them have dreadful consequences. Kids can be really vicious, for sure.

The novel's problem is simple: there is very little suspense or tension. Much of it is written from the POV of the boy and you know his motiva
Dec 17, 2011 Sheila rated it it was amazing
The book takes you deep into the hearts and minds of both victims and perpetrators, and, as in other Karin Fossum novels, the mystery is not who did it, but what made them do it. Fossum is no apologist for criminal behaviour, and never makes light of the consequences of her characters' villainous actions. Nevertheless, she can make you understand them in ways no other writer can. She shows a depth of compassion and insight rare not only in crime literature, but any literature. It's as if she's s ...more
Connie (Ava Catherine)
A great Inspector Sense mystery; however, a little slower paced than most of Fossum's novels. Overall, a great read. The ending is sublime.
Mark Stevens
Aug 17, 2012 Mark Stevens rated it liked it
“The Caller” lives in a world of slow-grinding cruelty, of mean neighborhood streets. The stakes aren’t high, unless you’re one of the rattled victims of the mean pranks and cruel tricks, but Karin Fossum shows how much mental destruction is possible even from low-grade violence.

“The Caller” didn’t really work that well for me because there wasn’t a whole lot of detection and uncovering going on by Inspector Konrad Sejer.

He seems kind of la-dee-dah about the whole situation, even though he’s c
Roderick Hart
Aug 01, 2013 Roderick Hart rated it it was amazing
[This review contains spoilers]

The main character in this book is Johnny Beskow, a teenager with a moped and a mother. His mother leaves a lot to be desired. She is an alcoholic with no real interest in her son, who is left to fend for himself a great deal. He does have a grandfather, whom he visits regularly and tries to look after. His mother has an interest in the old man too – how much money he might leave her when he dies.

Johnny, having little life of his own, decides to make an impact on
Carinae L'etoile
Billed as a thriller, it did anything but. Maybe I need to re-visit it later on, but for now it was just ok. Ok enough for me to let you know it was ok, but not enough for me to write a full blown review.

To be honest, the blurb was far more interesting than the book itself.
Jan 08, 2015 Hapzydeco rated it liked it
A prankster keeps Inspector Sejer and Sharre on their toes. This novel might not be Karin Fossum best but it is a good read. The ending may disappoint readers who want their lose ends tied neatly.
Kathleen Hagen
The Caller, by Karin Fossum, A. Narrated by David Rintoul, produced by Random House Audio, downloaded from

The latest in the Inspector Sejer, Norway, series. A happy couple with a sweet little baby think nothing could go wrong in their world. They have left the baby to sleep in her pram under the maple tree while they had a meal. But when the mother comes out to get the baby, she finds her daughter bathed in blood. They rush to the hospital and it turns out that blood is not her baby
Jan 21, 2013 Paula rated it really liked it
Shelves: detective-novels
Karin Fossum: The Caller (originally "Varsleren" in Norwegian; read a Finnish transl.)

I have read several of Karin Fossum's, a Norwegian crime writer's, novels. This was as good as her novels are, though a bit different in the plot. In many a usual crime novel the crime/murder happens in the beginning, and the rest is about solving the case. Not this time.

The book starts with a baby sleeping peacefully in the family garden while the parents happily eat in their house. They find their little girl
Victoria Moore
May 31, 2013 Victoria Moore rated it it was amazing
"The Caller," an Inspector Sejer Mystery, by Karin Fossum is a very strange book. I'm not sure if the mystery genre it's supposed to represent is psychological thriller or black comedy because it overlaps into both categories, with a little murder thrown in where you don't expect it, but whatever it is it kept me enthralled from the first page.
Fast-paced and slightly claustrophobic due to the proximity of the victims, the caller, preys upon it's less a book about outright horror than creeping
J.E. Fishman
Sep 24, 2012 J.E. Fishman rated it liked it
I have never read Karin Fossum before, and it strikes me that this book may not have been the right place to start. It’s something of an anti-mystery/thriller. The perpetrator is known from the start and the victims for the most part remain unknown to the reader until just before bad luck befalls them. As a consequence, much of the dramatic tension comes from the general sense of inconvenience (one could hardly call it danger) felt by the residents of a small town with a cruel prankster on the l ...more
Jan 08, 2012 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.
I have read and enjoyed 4 of Karin Fossum's books in the last couple of weeks, and was so impressed that I will be reading the rest of her fine mystery series. The books are set in a Norwegian town, and feature a patient, perceptive and kind older detective, Inspector Sejer and a younger policeman and friend, Skarre.
The books are short, tightly and well written with no wasted narrative,and you do not feel that you are reading a book in translation.
Someone is playing nasty, practical
Rebecca Martin
Jul 17, 2012 Rebecca Martin rated it really liked it
This book was between a 4 and a 5 for me. It's very unusual, in that we are pretty sure from the outset who is behind the upsetting doings in the small Norwegian town. This book features the detective work of Inspector Sejer but it is really a character study and a study of human relationships. What small thing can tear a seemingly very happy nuclear family apart? What is most frightening to those who know they are near death by disease? How strong is the bond between humans and the animals in t ...more
Mar 10, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Read this while on vacation.

Great mystery for those who like to explore the characters and motivations and repercussions of the crime, rather than just figure out who did it.

Inspector Sejer is called in to investigate a series of what appear to be petty crimes - prank calls, fake obituaries, etc.

However, the events feel related and Fossum shows how each one - trivial as it may appear on the surface - affects the victims over time, messing with their heads and senses of self.

She also takes you in
Thomas Bruso
May 12, 2015 Thomas Bruso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Subtle, but profound. Another great read by one of my favorite crime authors!
Apr 23, 2015 Hal rated it it was ok
I have read and enjoyed three other books in this series about a fictional Norwegian detective. However, I found this novel to be poorly plotted and unsatisfying. What I liked in prior volumes about Inspector Sejer was that the story seemed credible. In "The Caller," however, we are asked to believe things that are implausible.

The central concept -- the harm caused by a mean-spirited prankster -- has the potential to be arresting, but Fossum fell short here. Too many things had to fall into pla
Apr 21, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
This Karin Fossum book is not so much a whodunit as a whydunit, and her detectives, Sejer and Skarre, take an understandably long time to find the culprit behind a series of psychologically abusive pranks.

It begins with a young couple who find their new baby drenched in blood. They realize she is unharmed, but the impact of the incident on the wife and husband put a terrible strain on their marriage. Other pranks follow, and you know from the outset that they are committed by a young discontente
Anna Sinclair
Jan 11, 2016 Anna Sinclair rated it it was amazing
In the last two weeks, I read 11 of Karin Fossum's novels, but am only going to review one as the reviews would be repetitive.

First, I greatly enjoyed each of the books. There is not a great deal of poetry to Ms Fossum's turn of phrase it is just straight forward and earnest.

Second, these are not your standard mysteries. You are not, in most of the books, turning the page and wondering who did it. It is usually revealed very on who the killer is or is in all probability. The mystery is the why.
Elizabeth Moffat
Nov 12, 2012 Elizabeth Moffat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure about this book at first, it seemed a bit saccharin-sweet at times (perhaps something lost in translation?). However, about halfway through, I really started to enjoy the story. We are aware of who the perp is from the beginning which I found interesting as we were able to assess his character in more detail. Great ending as well - I won't spoil it but you have to read it to see what I mean.
This is the second book by Fossum I've read and I'm falling in love with her writing. There are no big surprises, no big suspense yet the story flows so well, you get the point of view of all the characters so you know fully what is happening. And yet there is just enough vagueness for it to not be complete at the end.
It starts out with a prank played on a couple, blood all over their baby who was laying in her pram outside. After that other pranks are played out, essentially harmless but never
Jan 31, 2016 Carol rated it it was ok
This book was perhaps the most disappointing of all the books I have read by this author. It allows us to believe that people, even young people, have little or no moral compass if they grow up with troubled parents. I found the book incredibly sad and not even good as a mystery. Better to direct her prodigious talents on writing better mystery stories.
Oct 12, 2011 Naomi rated it really liked it
Another absolute winner from Karin Fossum. I am so happy I didn't wait for its' US release date! I did end up giving this book 4 stars which is pretty uncommon for me with this author's books because it seemed to come off a tad more disjointed than what others in the Ins. Sejer series have. Still very much worth the read though!!
Sep 06, 2013 Debra marked it as to-read
Stephen King recommended book. He said in Entertainment Weekly's column The Best Books I Read in 2012: "Pranks can have lethal consequences, even when they seem harmless to start with. Fossum, a Norwegian poet who has turned to crime, has confected a poison bonbon that ranks with the best of Ruth Rendell."
I've written before of how Karin Fossum's specialty lies not so much in crafting a gripping, suspenseful mystery, but in exploring how crime affects small, rural communities. If you're looking for a thriller, you're probably looking in the wrong place. This is probably the book by Fossum of which this is the most true, I would say. Here the attention is placed most heavily on the criminal, to whom we are introduced quite early in the story, as well as his victims, many of which suffer not violen ...more
Inspector Sejer's tenth outing The Caller deals with a disturbed serial prankster. Parents find their baby's mouth covered in blood; somebody else's blood. Next, an obituary appears in the newspaper for someone who is still alive, and a coffin is called to a residence to pick up a dead body, but everybody in the house is living and nobody requested the hearse. Inspector Sejer and his sidekick Skarre knuckle down to find out who is behind these pranks that are much more than 'just a joke'. I like ...more
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Karin Fossum (née Mathisen) is a Norwegian author of crime fiction,often known there as the "Norwegian queen of crime". She lives in Oslo. Fossum was initially a poet, with her first collection published in 1974 when she was just 20. It won the Tarjei Vesaas' Debutant Prize. She is the author of the internationally successful Inspector Konrad Sejer series of crime novels, which have been translate ...more
More about Karin Fossum...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Konrad Sejer (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Evas Öga (Inspector Konrad Sejer #1)
  • Don't Look Back (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #2)
  • He Who Fears the Wolf (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #3)
  • When the Devil Holds the Candle (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #4)
  • The Indian Bride (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #5)
  • Black Seconds (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #6)
  • Mordet på Harriet Krohn (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #7)
  • The Water's Edge (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #8)
  • Bad Intentions (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #9)
  • The Drowned Boy (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #11)

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“Why did criminals have so many rights? Why were they entitled to respect and understanding? Had they not acted so unlawfully that these rights should be stripped from them?” 2 likes
“If you like someone, you’ll believe anything they say,” Matteus said. “Think about that for a while. When you sit in your office talking to Johnny Beskow.” 0 likes
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