The Purity of Vengeance
What a title, hey?
The Purity of Vengeance is by Jussi Adler-Olsen. He’s a Danish writer, and writes gloomy and always slightly twisted crime novels set in Copenhagen in the mysterious Department Q. They’re set up to solve cold cases (but also to keep Detective Carl Morck sort of out of mischief) and I think there’s something peculiar going on in that there’s copious money allocated to Dept Q and only a relatively minuscule amount of money is actually used to fund the Department.
I definitely missed the third book in this series – I get confused because there’s a British translation and a US translation, and I think I’ve acquired two versions of all of the books EXCEPT for #3. Anyway, because I am a lazy girl and couldn’t be bothered working out which one was number three, I just read number four. This one was more historical than some of the others, and was loosely based on a real place and a real dark spot in Danish history. There was a small island called Sprogo where ‘unsuitable’ women were sent until they were safe to return to civilised society – this generally involved them being sterilised before they were returned to polite society so they couldn’t breed. Nasty stuff. And we tend to consider the Scandinavians to be just that bit more civilised with their approach to social welfare… #yesallwomen indeed.
Anyway, this mystery revolves around one of the inmates getting revenge on a group of people who were involved in her incarceration, with a revisitation of the crime from the first book that led to Morck being banished to the basement, more derrings do by Assad, leading to suspicions about who he was in his past life. The story switches between the perspective of the detectives in 2010 and with Nete Hermansen in the 1950s and the 1980s. There’s not so much mystery, and more a string of coincidences that lead the detectives to discover what’s going on.
I really enjoy these books. They’re morose and wryly humourous at the same time. Not HAHAHAHA laugh out loud funny, more a sly half smile here and there. And there’s links between the two other books and the fourth one, and I assume the third as well, which makes reading the books an investment of time (not like Game of Thrones or anything. That’s a marathon). But you have the same characters, and it always seems to be winter. Raving flu going around this time, complete with descriptions of excessive bodily fluids. I really should get hold of the third one.