cover image Buried in Secret

Buried in Secret

Viveca Sten, trans. from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy. Amazon Crossing, $14.95 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-1-5420-1852-4

The discovery of human bones at a construction site on a small Swedish island kick-starts Sten’s intricately plotted 10th Sandhamn Murders novel (after 2021’s Bad Company). Det. Insp. Thomas Andreasson investigates, aided by an old friend who’s on leave in the area, economic crimes prosecutor Nora Linde. Nora, who fell into an alcoholic depression after her previous case went wrong, tries to compensate by probing the cold case of Astrid Forsell, a 17-year-old girl who vanished a decade earlier. Thomas, anguishing over the mutually agreed separation from the wife he still loves, is handling the similar unsolved case of Siri Grandin, who left her husband and disappeared at the same time as Astrid. Flashbacks to Astrid’s and Siri’s earlier lives provide scalpel-sharp dissections of failed family relationships. Sten does a good job integrating the disparate story lines, which come together in a satisfying if somewhat facile way. This is not the place to start for newcomers as knowledge of what happened in Bad Company seems to be assumed. Agent: Anna Frankl, Nordin Agency (Sweden). (Jan.)