Hard Cheese

Ulf Durling, trans. from the Swedish by Bertil Falk. Locked Room International, $19.99 trade paper (210p) ISBN 978-1-517419-78-3
Durling integrates laugh-out-loud humor into a scrupulously fair locked-room mystery, set in 1969 in a small Swedish town. Johan Lundgren, a full-of-himself retiree and the first of three narrators, gathers regularly with two friends to discuss mystery novels. One evening, the club member designated to summarize a work of fiction for the group chooses to describe a real-life puzzle instead. Axel Nilsson, a casual laborer with a weakness for drink, was found dead behind the locked door of his room in a seedy hotel. The wound on the back of his head could have resulted from an accidental fall, but other circumstances of the death point to foul play. Johan and his colleagues do some amateur sleuthing, and they find that the dead man had a shady relative. The narrative then shifts to the points of view of Gunnar Bergman, the local cop assigned to the case, who's unabashed about his lack of smarts, and Dr. Efraim Nylander, another member of the mystery club. Those who don't mind a lack of seriousness in their traditional mysteries will be entertained. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/21/2015
Release date: 11/01/2015
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