cover image The Devil’s Wedding Ring

The Devil’s Wedding Ring

Vidar Sundstøl, trans. from the Norwegian by Tiina Nunnally. Univ. of Minnesota, $25.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-5179-0280-3

Ancient myth and contemporary detection collide in this highly impressive thriller from Sundstøl (the Minnesota Trilogy), set in Norway’s Telemark region, the author’s own home. After 30 years in Florida, Norwegian PI Max Fjellanger returns for the funeral of Knut Abrahamsen, once his friend and fellow sheriff’s deputy. Knut drowned in a river, an apparent suicide, but his skeptical widow indicates that she suspects something criminal might have happened. Prolonging his stay, Max also becomes enmeshed in the case of college student Cecilie Wiborg, who vanished the previous Midsummer Eve, an echo of the similar 1985 disappearance of doctoral student Peter Schram. Like Cecilie, Peter was studying the strange pagan legends surrounding the 13th-century Eidsborg church and its statue of Saint Nikuls. Fjellanger joins forces with an unlikely ally, detective novel–loving librarian Tirill Vesterli, to pursue the truth. Together they uncover the vicious secrets that lurk beneath the area’s deceptively serene surface. Fans of Scandinavian crime fiction will hope that Sundstøl continues Max’s story in a sequel. (Sept.)