The Ice Beneath Her


“You never know friend from foe
     ’til the ice beneath her gives way”.
Inuit proverb

This book by an author new to me and I guess most as this is her first novel.  Camilla Grebe writes a tale with more twists and turns than The Corniche.

We are brought into the story set in Stockholm, where  a young woman’s decapitated body is found in the house of  the CEO of “Scandinavia’s fastest growing clothing chain”  There’s no sign of the owner of the house and it appears that he has left without a wallet, his heavy coat or his keys.

Peter is a Detective Inspector and with the help of Manfred, he is tasked with solving the murder.  Manfred is a happily married man and a new father, Peter has never married and is unlikely ever to be married.

There are few clues to this murder but there is an unholy likeness to an equally gruesome murder on which they both worked 10 years before and which murder was never solved.

We are introduced to Emma, a young girl who works in a shop in the retail chain, who starts a relationship with the CEO of the company.  For reasons that he puts forward convincingly to her (and us) this relationship must be kept secret.  Because of his management practices and politically incorrect statements, he is hounded by the press and tells her he wants to keep her away from the limelight  They become engaged and he gives her a magnificent ring, but on the day of the engagement, he disappears from her life.

We are told about Emma’s early upbringing; the life she lived with parents who were both alcoholics and fought constantly until her father hanged himself;  her days at school where she mostly went through the days unnoticed except by one male teacher and well, you can probably guess the rest.

We are given more information about Peter.  He has a 15-year-old son from an earlier relationship, whom he doesn’t see and a nonexistent relationship with the boy’s mother.

Then we meet Hanne a psychological profiler who was involved in the murder from 10 years ago.  Manfred wants to contact her but Peter is against it.  We then find out that Peter and Hanne had an affair that culminated in a decision that she leave her husband of many years to live with Peter.  This didn’t work out and of course, causes problems initially for them both when they start to work together again.

Added to this is the fact that Hanne has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s type illness.    This fact is kept secret from all but her very close friend and of course her husband.  It is her husband who insists on the secret.

So the story twists around all these people; the house owner is still missing several weeks later and of course is, therefore, suspect No 1 for the murder.  Emma is fired she is told as an outcome of the company profits falling, her mother is sick and her life is going downhill.  Peter and Hanne find a way to work together in spite of the earlier relationship although both are drawn to each other again.

This is a totally fascinating book that I read in two sittings.  I can recommend it.  The ending was totally unexpected and surprising.  The complex characters are all believable and it was certainly a rewarding book to read.  I was sorry when I turned the last page and I think it’s a book that I shall re-read in a couple of months





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