Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When the Devil Holds the Candle (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #4)” as Want to Read:
When the Devil Holds the Candle (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #4)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

by
3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  3,637 Ratings  ·  306 Reviews
When two teenagers steal a purse from a stroller, it results in an infant’s death. Unaware of the enormity of their crime, Zipp and Andreas are intent on committing another. They follow an elderly woman home, and Andreas enters her house with his switchblade. In the dark, Zipp waits for his friend to come out.Inspector Konrad Sejer and his colleague Jacob Skarre see no c
...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 4th 2007 by Mariner Books (first published 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Annabelle
Sep 24, 2008 Annabelle rated it liked it
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
Feb 06, 2009 Tony rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 24, 2010 Deborah Moulton rated it really liked it
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
Edmund Leow
Sep 12, 2011 Edmund Leow rated it it was amazing
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
Bill Garrison
Mar 07, 2012 Bill Garrison rated it really liked it
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
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
Apr 08, 2012 Mary Gilligan-Nolan rated it really liked it
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
Douglas Cook
Dec 25, 2012 Douglas Cook rated it really liked it
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
laura m
Apr 20, 2013 laura m rated it it was amazing
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
Naomi
Jun 09, 2010 Naomi rated it it was amazing
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
Amber
Jan 25, 2017 Amber rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
DNF @ 176
the beginning was actually pretty good but then it got so boring,, meh
El
Dec 08, 2010 El rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carolyn
Nov 03, 2007 Carolyn rated it liked it
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
Anna
Apr 02, 2012 Anna added it
Recommends it for: fans of classic Scandinavian crime books
Shelves: bookcrossing, 2012
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
Joan Colby
Dec 01, 2012 Joan Colby rated it really liked it
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
Dec 22, 2010 Nick rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries, translated
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
Jul 19, 2012 Doug Baird rated it really liked it
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
Carmen
Nov 19, 2013 Carmen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
This book is the third book in the Inspector Sejer mystery series. This book is much spookier and creepier than the previous two. It also differs from the previous two in that you know who the murderer is from the beginning. A young man goes missing. Where could he be? Is he alive or dead? Fossum is a brilliant writer and makes you think deeply about insanity, and the strange things that happen in life. Her characters live and breathe. I love how she has many different people and stories that al ...more
Rick
Sep 06, 2011 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would really like to give it 4.5 stars. Yes, it is rather "dark," but aren't most murder mysteries? Some reviews complain that Konrad Sejer doesn't show up enough, and that there is no mystery to the story since we know "who done it," but that didn't spoil the novel for me. I quite enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone. I look forward to another in the series.
Sandi
While part of the Inspector Sejer series, Sejer and the police actually have a small role in the narrative. Instead this was more psychological suspense with an emphasis on characterizations. Dark, suspenseful, and, though very well written, quite disturbing.
Carol
Nov 02, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it
Really absorbing book. Not so much a detective stoyy but a story of humans in need, in distress, in dire straits and in extraordinary circumstances. It is a story that grips you with it's levels of needs, fears, desires, loves, hates, and above all loneliness and isolation. Great read
Evelyne
May 22, 2015 Evelyne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Twee magere sterren, enkel en alleen door de o zo verschrikkelijke vertaling.

Moest dit rap-rap gaan voor de uitgever? Kromme zinnen, een vreselijke flow (lees een stukje hardop en je weet meteen wat ik bedoel), ik hield het gewoon niet uit...
Lisa
Jun 05, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 05, 2011 Nidia rated it it was amazing
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!
Laura
Jul 05, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
A little bit of teenage douchebaggery meets a lot of old nutjob in a charming Northern European setting. Mystery! Misery! Forests! Gnomes! Wait, no gnomes.
Sharon
Mar 28, 2012 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ibook, purchased
4. Sejer series.... When the Devil Holds the Candle. 1998/2004. iBook √
Wow, what a read! Could not put it down and doubt I'll forget it soon...what a writer!
Corny
Feb 04, 2017 Corny rated it really liked it
Shelves: thrillers
This is a very offbeat detective series from Norway.
Sometimes, as in this case, Inspector Sejer plays only a peripheral role. Very little detecting is done and the ending is, to say the least, abrupt and somewhat surprising. However, the author is investigating the criminal mind and Sejer is merely an instrument rather than the central character, in this case one Irma Funder. There are many coincidences, since we are dealing with life in a small Norwegian town where everyone knows everyone. The
...more
Dlhmoore
Jan 27, 2017 Dlhmoore rated it liked it
Shelves: detective, crime
This is the third book I've read by this author. The main Inspector is Konrad Sejer.

The author uses a different format than most crime and detective writers. The story is mainly about the the crimes and criminals - it is told from their point of view. So you know what has happened, who did it and where everyone is. It is only later in the story that the Inspector comes in.

This is a gruesome story of two teen boys who were best friends. They stole money if they needed it and kept company only w
...more
Anita
Jan 22, 2017 Anita rated it liked it
A compelling, creepy and strange book. I haven't read the other books in the series, but picked this up at a library while on holiday. Set in Norway, and translated from the language, it was partly from the killers perspective, and then also from the inspector. I prefer more of A whodunit, perhaps something was lost in translation . I liked this book but I didn't love it.
Gebra
Feb 02, 2017 Gebra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
amazing story, but it is not a crime rather a psychological essay.
intresting and thought-provoking about the differencies between the murder and robbery.
i love the parts which are about the old lady's thoughts and perspectives.
Beth
Jan 27, 2017 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
All of these books are dark and weird but I like them. We know the solution from the beginning and the detectives stumble upon the solution but don't really solve anything.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Glass Devil (Inspector Huss #4)
  • Frozen Tracks (Inspector Winter, #5)
  • The Demon of Dakar
  • Woman with Birthmark (Inspector Van Veeteren #4)
  • Arctic Chill (Inspector Erlendur #7)
  • Pierced (Henning Juul, #2)
  • Nattsøsteren (Cato Isaksen #4)
  • The Blood Spilt (Rebecka Martinsson, #2)
  • Dregs (William Wisting #6)
  • Betrayal
  • Blessed Are Those Who Thirst (Hanne Wilhelmsen #2)
163027
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 13 books)
  • Evas Öga (Inspector Konrad Sejer #1)
  • Don't Look Back (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #2)
  • He Who Fears the Wolf (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #3)
  • 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 Caller (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #10)
  • The Drowned Boy (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #11)

Share This Book



“If we don't believe in the Devil, we won't be able to recognize him when he suddenly shows up.” 9 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.” 4 likes
More quotes…