Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Murder of Harriet Krohn – Karin Fossum

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction

Charlo Olav Torp is in debt, actively hunted by his creditors to pay back the money he owes. Following the death of his wife Inga Lill he has become estranged from his teenage daughter Julie, their only contact reduced to long letters from father to daughter, one of which sets the tone for this novel.

So Charlo comes up with a plan to solve his biggest problems; pay off his debts and to persuade Julie that he is a changed man now that he has stopped gambling which is why on 7 November he is out in the cold weather, feet cold from the falling sleet putting his plan into action and this plan leads him to Harriet Krohn’s front door.

This book is one of the Inspector Sejer series written by Karin Fossum although this is the first book I’ve read by this author. I was surprised at how little exposure the Inspector gets in this outing. The first quarter of the book details in minute detail the night of the murder and its immediate aftermath and I have to be honest, I nearly put this book aside, irritated at the pace and feeling very little of any emotion for Charlo, but I read a few more pages and became hooked. The realisation dawned that this clever author had persuaded me to sympathise to an extent, with a man who had done a terrible deed. When Inspector Sejer makes an appearance it soon becomes apparent that he is of a very different mould to many British detectives, very thoughtful, compassionate but incredibly tenacious.

An unusual reading experience, on the one hand the start was too slow but without the layering of the details of that cold night and the self-pity of Charlo to appreciate the story of a man who is living with guilt. There is a scene where he moves coffee beans into piles to try to work out if he can ever make up enough good deeds to balance out the bad that was done that night, which led me to think about the larger philosophical questions, not bad for a detective story!

I will definitely be looking out for more by this author, I enjoyed the sensitivity of the writing, the way the author elicited not just sympathy, a part of me wanted Charlos to do well, to atone for his terrible actions and have a long and loving relationship with his daughter.

I would like to thank the publishers Random House Vintage for allowing me to have a copy of this book ahead of publication on 5 June 2014 in return for this honest review.


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

20 thoughts on “The Murder of Harriet Krohn – Karin Fossum

    1. That’s good to hear. The way that the author changed my opinion of the murderer was amazing, I like the writing and I’m looking to start at the beginning of this series… Love Inspector Sejer.


  1. Cleo – I’m glad you enjoyed this one once you’d gotten into it. I’m a Karin Fossum fan, so I’m biased. But still, I think she does a terrific job with atmosphere and character development. And I think you’ll like Inspector Sejer in the books that feature him more.


  2. I like the sound of this one – it’s always good when a crime book manages to be thought-provoking. But I really can’t at the moment – I’m so far behind with crime reads, I’ll get thrown out of NetGalley soon! So you’ll need to read another one and review it in a month or two when I’ve got a space… 😉


    1. 😆 I’m feeling so proud my NG review to approved rating is now just shy of 80% I do think you’d like this one so I’ll see what I can do to tempt you into reading the series, after all this one is number 7 in the series!!!


      1. My percentage isn’t too bad, but I’ve got several books sitting that have gone past their publication date and been archived – I really want to clear the decks a bit before I add any more. Yes – tempt me with no.1! It would be nice to start a series at the beginning for a change…


  3. Hi Cleo,

    I have several books by Scandinavian authors sat in my TBR pile. They are books I have purchased in the past for my father, who does enjoy a good crime story. I have been given most of them back, with strict instructions to delete these authors from the list of books he might like to read. He found the pace of the storylines much to slow and laborious and the writing far too tedious and without personality.

    I have yet to read any of them for myself, however I shall take on board both your own and my fathers comments and adjust my expectations accordingly, as this criticism seems to be simply a commentary on the style of Scandinavian writing in general.



    1. Have you read any by Camilla Lackenberg, these move at a faster pace than many of the Scandinavian authors. This book has plenty of in depth exploration of the main character but that style Isn’t for everyone. I’m going to start at the beginning of this series.


      1. Hi Cleo,

        I have checked through my stash of Scandinavian authors and have none by Camilla Lackenberg amongst them. I am off now to check her out, as I do enjoy authors who write with depth and detail about their characters. Thanks for the recommendation and have a great weekend.



        1. You’re welcome Yvonne, I started this series at book number five with The Hidden Child. It had the ingredients I love, hidden diaries and a Nazi war medal. I do love history so this was the perfect blend of past and present all wrapped up with crime!


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