Carolyn's Reviews > When the Devil Holds the Candle

When the Devil Holds the Candle by Karin Fossum
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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 most of our time with aren't interesting, because they are. There's Andreas, a beautiful and troubled 18-year-old who is obsessed with Blade Runner, and as a fan of the film myself I enjoyed the way that Fossum would occasionally work quotes from the movie into this book. And there's Irma, an older woman whose voice we hear in first-person, and not unlike the narrator of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," Irma's attempts to convince us of her sanity only show us how disturbed she is. Despite her actions, I found her a somewhat sympathetic character--after all, she did not choose to be mentally ill. And I like the way that her sense of isolation has a kind of counterpoint in Sejer's life, as he struggles to feel connected to a new girlfriend who is very different from himself. I felt that there were a few unlikely coincidences, and some frustratingly shoddy police work, but thanks to the psychologically complex and compelling characters I still enjoyed this book.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
November 3, 2007 – Shelved

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