When The Devil Holds The Candle
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When The Devil Holds The Candle (Inspector Konrad Sejer #4)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,960 ratings  ·  234 reviews
Andreas's disappearance is a mystery to all, including his inseparable friend Zipp. But as much as the police question him, its not easy for Zipp to come forward with details of the last time he saw his friend: following an old woman into her home, brandishing his knife. Zipp waited anxiously outside but Andreas failed to reappear.





Inspector Sejer and his colleague Skarre a...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published September 4th 2008 by Vintage Digital (first published 1998)
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Annabelle
This is a Norwegian mystery with that particular existential, fatalist almost nihilist point of view. And also it is postmodern in that the detective doesn’t solve anything, although his circling the perpetuators of the crime helps bring resolution, which is karmic and not from the long arm of the law. I actually liked that part. The only sane people are Inspector Sejer, his sidekick, Skarre, Sejer’s huge dog and Sejer’s girlfriend. Sejer seems the persona of a stable Europe that is struck by th...more
Tony
Fossum, Karin. WHEN THE DEVIL HOLDS THE CANDLE. (1998; U.S. 2004). ****1/2. Fossum writes un-put-downable books. This one is no exception. Her series detective, Inspecter Sejer, plays a relatively minor role in this one, but he does appear on the scene later in the novel. It’s the story of two yound men, Zipp and Andreas. Andreas is the better looking of the two and works at the local hardware store. Zipp, his constant – and only – friend is just an ordinary guy who doesn’t have a job, and doesn...more
Deborah Moulton
It's hard to like a book this horrifying. It examines the intersection of casual petty crimes committed by bored, drunken young men with unintended, life-shattering consequences for them and their victims. As it is ofen said, "things get out of hand."

If the story had stuck to that it wouldn't have been so devastating a story, but complicating all the stories is the failure to help when it is critically needed. Teens who don't help themselves or each other when their lives depend on it. Adults,...more
Bill Garrison
Norwegian author Karen Fossum's WHEN THE DEVIL HOLDS THE CANDLE is another excellent entry into the Inspector Konrad Sejer series. I've read over half of the books in the series, and while they are very readable and offer fascinating looks into the minds of the deluded, criminal, and insane, they really don't feature the standard format of the cops looking for clues and catching the bad guys.

In this novel, Fossum looks at what happens when people considered normal give into evil, or evil overcom...more
Douglas Cook
I normally give Karin Fossum's Inspector Sejer 5 stars, as they are so well crafted. This one is equally well-crafted but is amazingly depressing. [Guess I am a wimp :) ]

First paragraphs
Chapter 1 The courthouse. September 4, 4 P.M. Jacob Skarre glanced at his watch. His shift was over. He slipped a book out of his jacket pocket and read the poem on the first page. It's like virtual reality, he thought. Poof!—and you're in a completely different landscape. The door to the corridor stood open, and...more
Edmund Leow
The story is chilling because the characters are so believeable. It's not about a murderer with some strange fixation or obsession, no revenge that dates 40 years ago, or a murderer who derives joy from killing. It's not about who did it, but how did things end up like this? It is about how everyday people's lives can quickly spiral out of control, or descend to tragedy - through pure chance and even though inaction... It is about how close to the edge most of us are, without realising. It makes...more
donna_ehm
It's a sign of good writing when the main character in your series - a cop, no less - only appears a few times in a book but yet you still find it engrossing. In fact, it's Sejer's colleague, Jacob Skarre, who does more of the heavy lifting in the detecting department in this story than Sejer (who admittedly has his hands full navigating a new relationship with a rather feisty younger woman, so we can forgive him if he spends a chunk of time off-screen).

The story is basically from the perspecti...more
Anna
Apr 02, 2012 Anna added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of classic Scandinavian crime books
Shelves: 2012, bookcrossing
Third book in the Sejer series but the first one I read.
Fossum's style (at least in this book) reminds me of some of the other Scandinavian a generation ago crime authors like Sjöwall-Wahlöö and Joensuu.
(Or perhaps it was also influenced by such things as Columbo series in the TV, or vice versa?)
First we follow two young thugs who snatch a purse, and at some point of the thugs disappears. Sejer and Skarre end up turning the town upside down to find out where the thug is and what happened. Less...more
El
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
A little different from her previous two books, featuring Sejer and Skarre, but equally as good. This one is about two 18-year old friends, Andreas and Zip, bored, broke and about to cross the line in a series of events that will leave several lives changed forever. Zip is led by Andreas into a purse snatching incident, involving a mother and her 4-month old baby, when Andreas takes the womans purse, she gives chase and does not secure the brake on the pram. The pram topples over a ledge at the...more
mirta
Apr 20, 2013 mirta rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any nordic/european crime ficton fan and anyone who loves psychological aspect more than action
This book is purely genial. I don't think I have ever "encountered" such a improbable and sadly deranged "villain".
I am using brackets when I say villain because there is no black and white in this book, everything is grey, from atmosphere to characters.
We really get to like the two weird but not bad hearted loner sort of teens despite their somewhat hasty and unthoughtful actions we might condone, all of this is just an intro into the black void which will swallow Andreas halfway through the bo...more
Carolyn
I struggled a bit getting into this unconventional mystery novel, which doesn't really, in my mind, have any of the qualities that are typically associated with mysteries aside from the fact that there's a crime involved. One thing that I had to adjust to was the fact that the very interesting and likable Inspector Konrad Sejer is essentially a supporting character here, and I went in hoping to spend more time with him than the book provided. That's not to say that the characters we do spend mos...more
Joan Colby
This is the second book I’ve read of Fossum’s Norwegian mysteries. If these two are typical, her work tends more to psychological studies than traditional who-dun-its. Fossum’s insights can be penetrating as in this example of Inspector Sejer on the death of his aged mother who had been comatose for years—“Mother—he murmured. How strange to say that word out loud and never to hear an answer again. He sank back in the chair, thinking that he ought to go home. He stood up, but left the chair where...more
Nick
This is an odd book, not attributable entirely to a translation from Norwegian, I would imagine. As my obsession for Scandinavian mysteries moved from Sweden to Norway last year, I thought I should check out Fossum, who is listed by other obsessives as a must-read author in the sub-genre. There's a dream-like quality to the prose generated by the narrator, an aging and bitter woman who is both victim and perpetrator that reminds me of certain short stories and less-famous novels by Patricia High...more
Doug Baird
My first Fossum book, so it's hard to draw any conclusions, but I was struck by the difference in emphasis on the part of the cops. In most US crime novels and police procedurals the cops are tough guys, macho men, avenger types. Criminals don't just do evil deeds, they are evil men, or women.
Fossum's cops are just as efficient at solving crimes, which in some instances is not very efficient, but their attitudes are much less anger/vengence-laced. The criminals are not inherently evil, they're...more
Peter
A psychological drama more than a murder mystery that borders on horror fiction. The story is told from several points of view not in chronological order but it adds to the novel as the inner demons of the characters reveal themselves.

The characters are not only ordinary, but they are tortured by circumstances beyond their control. This leads to abnormal, criminal behavior by Andreas and his only pal Zipp 18 year olds without direction in life. Irma Funder, 60 years old, born unattractive and u...more
Naomi
I plan on giving all of my Karin Fossum reviews the same statement because I don't even want the hint of a spoiler on this woman's fantastic work. Fossum's writing gave me my love of Scandanavian mystery writers and I seek those writings out. Hands down,though, Fossum's work is the best I have come across so far
Lisa
This is my favorite of the series. All of her books are great reads, but this one reminds me of Ruth Rendell.

Downloading the series may have been a mistake! I cannot put them down.
Nidia
Fantastic! Superb writing, real well-drawn characters and an unusual psychological thriller that kept me involved from the beginning.
Fossum is becoming a favorite author!...more
Livia
I read about a third of this book before deciding I was done with it. I hate nearly all the characters in the book. The angelic-looking Andreas is a self-obsessed racist, his friend "Zipp" is an idiot and creepy old Irma, who keeps insisting she's sane in spite of all the evidence makes my skin crawl. Inspector Sejer's new girlfriend Sara is an irritating woman who calls phone sex lines when he's not around and smokes pot in his flat without his permission. Inspector Sejer was the only character...more
ErynnMarie
I don't know how to rate this book. The writing was very good. The story was captivating. But it was so dark! (I suppose the title should have been my first clue.) This is my second of Karin Fossum's works, and I think she is a fantastic writer. And it's particularly interesting to me to read a crime novel from another country. But it's just so dark.
Aside from the Inspector (who I find to be a refreshing, real, deep, and pleasant character), nearly everyone else in the story is ugly--either phys...more
Ron Christiansen
I'm close to 4 stars, certainly 3.5. I assume some (which was confirmed in my friend Lynn's review) will be bothered that it isn't really a mystery--you know who dunnit right from the beginning. And I agree it's more of a psychological thriller but it seems other mysteries (including other Fossum novels) reveal the murderer from the beginning. To me it's simply a variation on the mystery.

I found the psychological exploration of Irma Funder (what a name) to be intriguing. We get a first-person n...more
Bartek
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathleen Hagen
When the Devil Holds the Candle, by Karin Fossum, A. narrated by David Rimpoul, translated into English by Felicity David, produced by BBC Audio Books, purchased from audio editions.

This is another in the Inspectors Konrad Sejer and Jakob Skarre series. In this book, the police take second seat to the story, and in fact, in the end the reader knows more about what happened than the police do. We have two teens, Andreas and his best and only friend, Zipp. Within a couple of days, several things h...more
Stephen Gallup
What is it with these Nordic authors and their bleak portrayals of life? (I realize others have raised the question before.)

The events in this novel are disturbing, no question about that, but the telling is also exceedingly well-done, and I think it has a purpose.

Partway along, a minor character observes of society that "everyone's at sea these days, drifting. People have no anchor to hold them down." Consequently, young guys in the story drift into crime, motivated by little more than boredom....more
Stein
==Unthrilling psychodrama==
I really enjoyed the first two Sejer mysteries but in this book Fossum got off track. What was she trying to dish up here for her readers? She starts off the book with the ending—albeit twisted—so much of the thrill has been spoiled. Skarre (Sejer’s assistant) has more to do with the detective work than his boss. Sejer’s girlfriend, Sara, acts like a whimsical nympho rather than a professional psychologist. There are way too many coincidences for the plot to be credibl...more
Louise Mundt
Jeg hørte denne bog som lydbog, men måtte starte forfra af flere omgange, da jeg blev en smule forvirret efter ikke at have fuldt 100% med i en periode. Historien var absolut ikke som jeg forventede, men det var en særdeles positiv overraskelse, og det gjorde bogen vældig spændende og interessant.

Ved bogens begyndelse møder man Irma Funder, som er helt almindelig. Hun er hverken ligeså klog eller ligeså smuk som sine søstre, og hun føler sig forkert og udenfor i sin familie. Denne følelse har fu...more
Maggie
This review has some spoilers so if you have not read the book, and are planning to do so, do not read it. Also, I think I would have made this a 2 1/2 stars if I could have.

While I enjoyed this book (though not as much as her other books) I also thought it a little odd. For instance, the series is the Inspector Konrad Sejer series yet Inspector Sejer did not have much detecting to do in this book. In fact, there was not much of a mystery at all. We knew who the criminals were at any given point...more
LJ
WHEN THE DEVIL HOLDS THE CANDLE (Psy. Thril/Pol. Proc-Ins. Sejer-Norway-Cont) – Okay
Fossum, Karin – 3rd in series
Harcourt, Inc., 2004, US Hardcover – ISBN: 0151011885

First Sentence: Jacob Skarre glanced at his watch.

Det. Jacob Skarre is confronted by an older, unattractive woman who talks about a missing person who may not live much longer and then walks away. Irma Funder is a woman with serious issues, both physically and mentally. Andreas is a remarkably handsome young man. Andreas and his bes...more
Spuddie
#3 Inspector Conrad Sejer series set in Norway. This book seems to be more about the lives of several people involved in various crimes than with the police procedures or crime detection. Andreas, an 18 year old, is reported missing by his frantic mother. Determined to convince the police that he is a 'good boy,' which seems to hold true on the surface--he had a steady job, never gave his mother trouble, had no police record--she refers them to her friend Irma as a character reference for Andrea...more
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Is this really a mystery? (Spoilers!) 4 29 Aug 14, 2013 11:03AM  
Can someone explain the ending? spoilers obviously 5 39 May 21, 2013 03:19PM  
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Karin Fossum 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 translated into over 16...more
More about Karin Fossum...
Don't Look Back (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #2) The Indian Bride (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #5) He Who Fears the Wolf (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #3) Black Seconds (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #6) The Caller (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #9)

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“If we don't believe in the Devil, we won't be able to recognize him when he suddenly shows up.” 6 likes
“It's hard, to live in the present. Right this minute. We spend most of our time in the past. Or in the future…about half in each. But to live in the present! Hardly anybody can do it.” 2 likes
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