Eva’s Eye: An Inspector Sejer Mystery (Book 1)

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by Karin Fossum

From the opening scene when a man’s body is discovered sluggishly bobbing in a river to the end when his murderer realizes that a horrible mistake has been made, this plot takes readers on a slow, stunning spiral.

Author Karin Fossum tells this tale of vengeance gone awry through two perspectives, that of Inspector Conrad Sejer and that of impoverished artist Eva Magnus.

Sejer plods backwards from discovery of the body through investigation of clues to the revelation of the murderers (there are two bodies and two killers). Magnus moves forward through her life struggling to support herself and her daughter, making a series of self-serving decisions that take her down a slippery slope into a nightmare.

There are two murders in this novel: that of Egil Einarsson, who went out to meet someone interested in buying his car and was never seen again until his body turned up in the river, and that of a well-known local call girl who was found murdered in her bed by a client.

The who did what, when and why is revealed by participants as much as it is uncovered by Sejer’s investigation. The suspense builds deliciously and the ending is both unexpected and unusual. Sejer is a patient, placid and stubborn investigator. Middle-aged and widowed, he goes home at night to a big dog who falls asleep on his feet, drooling on his socks. Magnus is an ordinary woman with a passion for her unsellable art, pushed to the edge by poverty.

The juxtaposition of the two murders — one violent, impulsive, alcohol- and greed-fueled and the other a premeditated act its perpetrator viewed as righteous vengeance — offers an unusual perspective on murder and justice.

The books in the series that follow Eva’s Eye are (in order):

  • DON’T LOOK BACK (published in 1996 and translated into English in 2012). This novel won the Glass Key Award and the Riverton Prize.
  • HE WHO FEARS THE WOLF (translated into English in 2003).
  • WHEN THE DEVIL HOLDS THE CANDLE (translated into English in 2004).
  • CALLING OUT FOR YOU (or THE INDIAN BRIDE in the 2007 American translation). This book was shortlisted for the crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award.
  • BLACK SECONDS (translated into English in 2007).
  • THE MURDER OF HARRIET KROHN (English translation 2014).
  • THE WATER’S EDGE (English translation 2009).
  • BAD INTENTIONS (English translation 2010).
  • THE CALLER (English translation 2011).
  • THE DROWNED BOY (English translation 2015).
  • HELL FIRE (English translation 2016).
  • THE WHISPERER (English translation 2016).

About the Author: Karin Fossum (1954 – )

Karin Fossum is sometimes called the “Norwegian queen of crime.”
She began writing poetry and published her first collection in 1974. It won Tarjei Vesaas’ debutantprise, a prize given each year for the best first literary work by a Norwegian author.
She is known internationally for her mystery series featuring Inspector Sejer. As of 2016, there were a dozen books in this series that had been translated into English.  She has also written several poetry and short-story collections as well as a number of stand-alone novels.
She lives outside of Oslo.


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