Mystery Authors You May Have Missed
Karin Fossum

PhotoBiography
Karin Fossum, Norway’s “Queen of Crime,” published her first work, an award-winning book of poetry, in 1974 when she was only 20 years old. More poems followed, but motherhood intervened and Fossum took a hiatus from writing to raise her two children. She also undertook a number of odd jobs, including working in a hospital and a mental institution. These experiences helped inform her first crime novel, Evas øye, which was published to great acclaim in Norway in 1995. Since then, Fossum’s books have earned a worldwide following and have been translated in sixteen languages; The Times of London recently named her one of the fifty greatest crime writers of all time. She currently lives in a small town in southeastern Norway.

What she writes: Fossum is best known for her haunting Inspector Sejer series of mysteries, five of which have been translated in English and published in the United States. Each book in the series involves a brutal crime committed in a small, insulated Norwegian town. Fossum tells the story using varying perspectives, including the suspect(s) and those affected by the crime. By mixing harrowing psychological suspense with elements of the police procedural, Fossum has been compared to Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters. But Inspector Sejer himself is a singular creation — a calm, deliberate, and melancholy hero who provides these tension-filled books with a solid moral center.

 

List of works
 
Inspector Sejer series
  Don't Look Back (1996)
  He Who Fears the Wolf (1997)
  When the Devil Holds the Candle (1998)
  The Indian Bride (2000)
  Black Seconds (2002)
   

Awards

Don’t Look Back won the 1997 Glass Key Award, Scandinavia’s highest mystery honor, as well as Norway’s Riverton Award; The Indian Bride was nominated for the 2005 Crime Writer’s Association Gold Dagger Award and won a L.A. Times Book Prize.

 
What the critics say
"Remarkably incisive psychological suspense: novels that carry the headlong momentum of thrillers and the acuity and weight of literary fiction." - Daniel Mallory, The Washington Post
"Fossum expertly evokes the palpable tension beneath the surface of a seemingly idyllic community, as the characters’ various psychological ticks are probed delicately but with devastating effect by the determined investigator." - Bill Ott, Booklist
"Fossum is a master at drawing finely detailed suspects. The result: an irresistible page-turner that’s like a Nordic Sherlock Holmes story, with characters by Bergman and blood by Tarantino." - Entertainment Weekly

 

Learn about other Mystery Authors You May Have Missed.