Asa Larsson is one of my very favourite authors. She's written most of a six-book series about a troubled Stockholm financial lawyer called Rebecka Martinsson. Three of the books have been translated into English, superbly, by Marlaine Delargy. As I understand it, the translation fate of some or all of the rest hangs in the balance. I truly hope that these excellent novels will be translated and will receive the wider audience they so well deserve.
In the first novel of the series, Sun Storm (UK title The Savage Altar), Rebecka returns to Kiruna, the small town she left in disgrace many years before, because her old schoolfriend Sanna is suspected of murder. Sanna's brother was killed in the revivalist church that he led. To help Sanna, Rebecka has to face the dark past of her childhood. Not only does the novel have an excellent plot, it also provides a rich background of the ways of life in this remote village, especially that of Rebecka's grandfather, and an unusual police detective, Anna-Maria Mella. Sun Storm won Sweden's best first crime novel award (2003) and was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger (2007), very deservedly so. It has also been filmed (in Sweden), with the title Solstorm.
The second novel, The Blood Spilt, is set in midsummer, and opens with another murder in a church, again in the Kiruna region. Despite these superficial similarities, the two books are very different, as The Blood Spilt explores the shadows within the local community that fell over Mildred, the dead woman, and tells the story of Yellow Legs, a lone wolf living in the forests. This book won Sweden's best crime novel award in 2004.
The Black Path, the third in the series, opens with the discovery of a dead woman in a fisherman's ark on a frozen lake. Anna-Maria needs a lawyer to explain part of the case - so she calls on Rebecka, who is desperate to get back to work. The preface:
"Do you remember what happened?
Rebecka Martinsson saw her dead friend lying there on the gravel in Poikkijarvi. And the world shattered. And they had to hold on to her to stop her walking into the river.
This is the third book."
Links in the book titles above take you to my reviews of the novels at Euro Crime.