Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Deep As Death by Katja Ivar


The year is 1953 and the place is Helsinki, Finland.  Midwinter in one of the coldest winters in memory.  A prostitute is found drowned, caught under the ice that imprisons the water and now her body.  Did she slip and fall or was she pushed?  When she is found to have been pregnant, the scales tip towards murder.  

Hella Mauzer used to be on the police force.  When she was labeled 'too emotional' after a suspect shooting, she was transferred to Lapland for several years.  She finally decided it would be better to leave the force and come back to Helsinki where her life was and is now working as a private investigator.  Everyone acknowledges her intelligence and hard work but private investigative work is hard to come by.  She is at a bad place.  Funds are running low and she has just broken up with her long time boyfriend.  When the police suggest her to follow up on the death, she jumps at the chance.

Inspector Mustonen used to be Hella's partner.  Now he is trying to rise up through the ranks of the police department, his need fueled by his society wife.  The higher he rises, the more he is exposed to the fact that there are two justices; one for the rich and powerful and one for the rest of society.  When more prostitutes begin to show up drowned, he is brought into the case but his superiors are hamstringing him for fear that he will step on the toes of the influential.  Which investigator will find the killer first?

This is the second in Katja Ivar's series about Hella.  The writing is different than mysteries written in English, with short chapters that propel the pace along and a fatalistic view of society.  Hella is a groundbreaker in her chosen field but her emotional nature also can be her fatal flaw as it leads her to jump to conclusions and find evidence after the fact.  There are many suspects and the reader will be surprised at who the killer turns out to be.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

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