Andreas's disappearance is a mystery to all, especially to his inseparable friend Zipp. But as much as inspector Sejer and his colleagues question him, it isn't easy for Zipp to come forward with details of the last time he saw his friend. They had been following an old woman, Irma Funder, an easy target for some quick cash, and Andreas, brandishing a knife, boldly followed her into her house. The next moment he was gone. Zipp had anxiously waited for his friend but Andreas was never to reappear... A good thriller in which the author tackles the reasons people commit crimes with devastating effect. The novel is read by David Rintoul for BBC Audiobooks. A commendable performance.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
43 internautes sur 46 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
"We encounter the Devil all the time. The question is, how do we handle him?"14 novembre 2006
- Publié sur Amazon.com
The undisputed queen of psychological horror, Norwegian author Karin Fossum takes an up-close view of three deaths in this novel in which Evil touches Inspector Konrad Sejer's own family. Andreas Winther, a handsome 18-year-old of little motivation and less morality, is cruising with his friend Zipp Skorpe when they decide to taunt a small brown boy. The boy is Sejer's adopted grandson Mattheus, a Somali immigrant trying to fit into Norwegian society. Their arrogance and their attitude of being above the rules of society ensure from the outset that they will never be characters with whom the reader will identify as author Fossum deals with broader, more important issues and themes.
Bored, Andreas and Zipp then decide to rob a young woman pushing a baby stroller, and later on to rob a house in which an old woman lives alone. Several deaths occur. Each of these deaths is examined in minute detail from the perspective of the killer (and in one case, the victim), and the question of responsibility and the extent to which the killer intended to kill--and whether that is relevant--are considered from many angles. For each of the three deaths, there are mitigating factors. Anita's killer is regarded by the police as "a good person." The baby's death could be crib death, or any number of other circumstances.
As Fossum pursues her themes and illustrates them vividly through her carefully drawn characters, the book becomes a powerful investigation of evil and its ability to seize and control lives. No one, however terrible his/her crime, is completely evil here, but, as Fossum shows, the justice system can only deal with issues that are black and white. When "justice" eventually resolves each of these cases, few readers will be surprised by the resolution. By turns exciting and thoughtful, dramatic and contemplative, When the Devil Holds the Candle is a fine novel dealing with important themes in new ways. n Mary Whipple
30 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
"There in the kitchen, in the yellow-green light, at the age of six, I lost my freedom."5 juillet 2006
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Considered Norway's "Queen of Crime" for good reason, Fossum's latest thriller is a striking indictment of youthful self-indulgence and the private torments of a broken mind on a collision course with happenstance. Two characters dominate the beginning of the novel, Andreas and Zipp, avid for action, their anti-social behavior fueling drinking bouts, their victims the helpless and unsuspecting. Andreas is tall, handsome, clearly the leader of the pair; Zipp, the moody sidekick, is compact, tense, constantly proving his manhood. Their petty crime spree is spontaneous, entertainment of the moment regardless of the consequences. A more peripheral character, at least at first, Irma Funder is a recluse, shirking social contacts and beset with the paranoia that preys on her sanity, "the hideous, evil person you become when the devil holds the candle."
Through Fossum's masterful plotting, these characters are destined to clash, their futures entwined, Inspector Sejer and his favorite assistant, Jacob Skarre, coming late to a complex series of events, miscalculations and blunders turned deadly. Sejer is enjoying a new lease on life since the untimely death of his beloved wife; the energetic, unpredictable Sara now brightens his days, as does his daughter's newly adopted son, Matteus. The inimitable Skarre lends his intuition to the mix, the two men working through an improbable tangle of seemingly unrelated crimes and a fated meeting with unexpected violence. When Andreas goes missing, there is no trace, in spite of Skarre's careful investigation of the circumstances. Meanwhile, an old woman lurks in the shadows, unable to communicate either her knowledge or her fears. The air of menace builds, the characters lunging toward a terrible conclusion that confounds all but the most cynical observer, a stunning exploration of arrogance, beauty, ugliness, loneliness, social isolation and a need for acceptance.
Fossum's prose is a brilliant vehicle for the foibles of humanity, her characters well defined, imbued with a sense of immediacy, a blend of personalities, needs and subtle yearnings, all juxtaposed in a plot that is utterly satisfying. Nothing is simple, people driven to commit acts of brutality, to feel shame, grief, contrition and a more aberrant rationalization for continuing the destruction of the delicate fabric of society. As she has done in previous novels, Fossum reveals her imperfect characters from their inner dialogs, reshaping the horizon as viewed from broken and distorted perceptions. Such people are vulnerable to this author's agile scrutiny, the frailties and flaws common to all of humankind, familiar shadowy places that most of us hide successfully. This novel is vibrant, impossible to put aside, the story precipitously plummeting toward the unknown, a random assemblage of characters tumbling together through events none can control, even the determined and noble Inspector Sejer. Luan Gaines/ 2006.
13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
"What We Were Ends Here"26 octobre 2008
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Norwegian author Karin Fossum shuns convention and spins another offbeat crime novel in "When the Devil Holds the Candle", a refreshingly off-the-beaten track Scandinavian mystery that is as well written as it is quirky.
Andreas Winther is an aimless eighteen-year old, a not uncommon slacker holding down a minimum wage job while flirting with the mildest fringes of crime. Irma Funder is 60ish, a mostly reclusive divorcé with a semi-estranged adult son and memories of a childhood of benign neglect. A young mother walks her four-month old child along Oslo's beach. Guided by Fossum's talented hand, the unlikely crossing of these dissimilar lives makes for an explosive literary feast of suspense and depravity, a novel so rich in conflicting themes, sinister undercurrent, and depth of character that it nearly bursts out of the mere 259 pages that try to confine it. This is a masterpiece of darkness, a somber and psychologically chilling tale that leaves no winners as it takes twists and turns to its unexpected and powerful conclusion.
Drawing parallels to this author's work is mostly futile. Sure, the fatalistic tone recalls Arnaldur Indridason or Jo Nesbo, but living in a cold, damp place with no sun for half of the year probably makes it hard to write like say, Carl Hiaasen. Fossum's plots are fresh and unexpected, her villains unlikely, her settings surrealistic, even haunting. Where most writers deal in blacks and whites and good vs. evil that lead to a clean finish, Karin Fossum's mastery stems from her rich ambiguity. Where most authors cast their protagonist in the central role, spinning the story around their whims and deductions and forensic brilliance, Fossum's inspector Sejer is nearly an observer, a keen but detached bystander who never seems fully engaged with the crime at hand.
So if you're looking for a different path - intelligent fiction that will prod and pester and make you want to put your life on hold until you're forced to finish, then you've got to meet Karin Fossum. But a word of warning - don't expect relief when it's finally placed on the bookshelf. Fossum's prose will continue to haunt long after you've turned the last page.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A meditation on passive evil...26 février 2008
- Publié sur Amazon.com
There are two new fronts in European mystery writing: the well-named Tartan Noire coming out of Scotland, which is represented by a whole cadre of young, new, irreverent talent; and an as-yet-named current of excellent police procedurals coming out of Scandinavia. The great Swedish writer, Henning Mankell, started the flow for me, followed by the excellent debut novel by Icelander Arnaldur Indridason entitled Jar City. Amazon.com helpfully suggested that if I like these two, I might like Karin Fossum, and, so I tried her (don't you love that helpful old Amazon?). As with Mankell, it took me a book or two to get into the rhythm, but I think Fossum's third book, When the Devil Holds the Candle, is superb. It was the winner of the Gumshoe Award for Best European Mystery in 2007.
This is a fresh approach to police procedurals where we actually know the facts of the crimes quite early in the book. The journey we take is in discovering the twists of history and fate that put the main characters into a collision course with each other. It is also an incisive commentary on the narrow boundaries between idle youth/criminal behavior, and isolation/insanity. Irma is a strange and solitary older lady like anyone we might see and ignore on our city streets. She is beneath notice. But she harbors powerful and disturbing insights. Andreas and Zipp are, respectively, formless and gormless youth, but they are capable of far-reaching damage due to their short-focus selfishness. These three end up in a desperate synergy that moves like a runaway train and takes strangers, friends, family, and the police along with them. And Fossum continues to develop Inspector Sejer and his colleagues and family in ways that benefit the story without competing with the action. I look forward to the next installment.
P.S. Notice should be given to the excellent work of the translator, Felicity David.
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
An unfortunate confrontation between two disturbed souls10 novembre 2006
Cory D. Slipman
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Written in a concise, unfettered manner common to other Scandinavian mystery authors, Karin Fossum's "When the Devil Holds the Candle" is a revealing profile into the psyches of her main characters.
Andreas Winther a handsome 18 year old with a menial job and limited ambition lives with his mother in a small provincial Norwegian town. He spends most of his free time with his only friend "Zipp" Skorpe, an unemployed freeloader who tools around in his deceased father's car that was bequeathed to him. They suppliment their pooled cash reserves used for drinking and carousing by committing petty larceny.
One evening, short on funds, they espy an apparent easy mark in the local square and decide to follow her home. Andreas breaks into the woman, Irma Funder's home, and threatens her with a knife. In the midst of a struggle he stumbles down the cellar stairs injuring himself severely and becomes paralyzed, unable to move. He apparently picked the wrong victim because Irma Funder is a deranged 60 year old with serious health concerns. Abandoned by her husband and spurned by her son, she lives a solitary life interrupted only by an occasional friendship with a woman named Runi.
Early on she makes a decision not to report the home intrusion and assault by Andreas to the police, prefering to sustain him as a prisoner lying on the cellar floor. The interaction between these two flawed individuals will determine their ultimate destinies.
Andreas' disappearance becomes a celebrated media event and focus of an investigation of police Inspector Konrad Sejer and his associate Jacob Skarre. Andreas' friend Zipp the only creditable witness remains tight lipped to conceal their involvement in additional criminal activities during the course of the day. Meanwhile time is of the essence in solving this unusual case.