Camilla Läckberg is a best-selling author in her native Sweden. Having read this, her debut novel, I can understand why.
The Ice Princess opens with writer Erica Falck back in her hometown dealing with the aftermath of the death of both of her parents in a car crash.
There is soon another death. Erica and Alex Wijkner were childhood friends, but they lost touch years ago. Now Alex has been found lying dead in a bath with her wrists slashed and the water frozen. It seems that Alex has taken her own life.
Alex’s parents ask Erica to write a memoir of their daughter their daughter. As she sets out on this task she quickly comes to believe that Alex’s death was not suicide – she was expecting a baby and overjoyed at the prospect.
And the post-mortem proves that the death was murder. A police investigation begins and soon Erica crosses paths with another childhood friend – detective Patrik Hedstrom.
The plot unwinds slowly and draws in a range of characters. It seems that Alex’s death is linked to dark secrets that the townspeople have buried for many years…
Lots of things to praise:
The mystery is very well constructed, with answers leading to more and more questions until an unexpected, but entirely believable conclusion is reached.
The cast of characters is wonderful and Camilla Läckberg’s psychological insight is spot on.
The sense of place is wonderful too.
Just one negative:
Too much time is on Erica’s personal life – her developing relationship with Patrik and her sister’s abusive relationship with her husband.
Those sub-plots are well executed and provide some interesting moments, but they feel mis-matched with the main storyline.
The strength of the crime writing carries the day though. The Ice Princess feels like the start of a series, and I look forward to the next installment.
Translated by Steven T Murray