cid

commissaire inspector dottore

a bibliography of detective-inspector novels


sara blædel

the louise rick series

Grønt støv. København: Lindhardt og Ringhof, 2004.
 ∴  Grüner Schnee. Translated by Thorsten Alms. Bergisch Gladbach: Bastei Lübbe, 2006.
 ∴  Pulver. Translated by Mona Eriksson. Stockholm: Prisma, 2006.
 ∴  Handlarz smiercia. Translated by Iwona Zimnicka. Warszawa: Prószynski, 2012.
 ∴  Nieve verde. Translated by Sofía Pascual Pepe. Madrid: Siruela, 2013.
 ∴  The Midnight Witness. Translated by Mark Kline. New York: Grand Central, 2018.

Kald mig prinsesse. København: Lindhardt og Ringhof, 2005.
 ∴  Tödliches Schweigen. Translated by Thorsten Alms. Bergisch Gladbach: Bastei Lübbe, 2007.
 ∴  Kalla mig prinsessa. Translated by Mona Eriksson. Stockholm: Prisma, 2007.
 ∴  Kallaðu mig prinsessu. Translated by Auður Aðalsteinsdóttir. Akranes: Uppheimar, 2009.
 ∴  Call Me Princess. Translated by Erik J. Macki & Tara Chace. New York: Pegasus, 2011. Reprinted as Blue Blood. London: Sphere, 2012.
 ∴  Mam na imie ksiezniczka. Translated by Iwona Zimnicka. Warszawa: Prószynski, 2012.
 ∴  Llámame princesa. Translated by Sofía Pascual Pepe. Madrid: Siruela, 2014.

Kun ét liv. København: Lindhardt og Ringhof, 2007.
 ∴  Nur ein Leben. Translated by Thorsten Alms. Bergisch Gladbach: Bastei Lübbe, 2008.
 ∴  Bara ett liv. Translated by Ninni Holmqvist. Stockholm: Norstedt, 2008.
 ∴  Only One Life. Translated by Erik J. Macki and Tara F. Chace. New York: Pegasus, 2012.
 ∴  Aðeins eitt lif. Translated by Árni Óskarsson. Akranes: Uppheimar, 2012.
 ∴  Tylko jedno zycie. Translated by Iwona Zimnicka. Warszawa: Prószynski, 2013.

Aldrig mere fri. København: People's Press, 2008.
 ∴  Aldrig mera fri. Translated by Eva Mazetti-Nissen. Stockholm: Norstedt, 2009.
 ∴  Unschuld. Translated by Thorsten Alms. Bergisch Gladbach: Bastei Lübbe, 2010.
 ∴  Aldrei framar frjáls. Translated by Árni Óskarsson. Akranes: Uppheimar, 2010.
 ∴  Sin salida. Translated by Rodrigo Crespo. Barcelona: Mosaico, 2010.
 ∴  Farewell to Freedom. Translated by Erik J. Macki & Tara Chace. New York: Pegasus, 2012. Reprinted as The Night Women. New York: Grand Central, 2018.
 ∴  Mai più libera. Translated by Bruno Berni. Roma: Fazi, 2012.
 ∴  Pozegnanie wolnosci. Translated by Iwona Zimnicka. Warszawa: Prószynski, 2013.

Hævnens gudinde. København: People's, 2009.
 ∴  Hefndargyðjan. Translated by Árni Óskarsson. Akranes: Uppheimar, 2011.
 ∴  Bogini zemsty. Translated by Ivona Zimnicka. Warszawa: Prószynski, 2014.
 ∴  The Running Girl. Translated by Thom Satterlee. New York: Grand Central, 2018.

Dødsenglen. København: People's, 2010.
 ∴  Dauðaengillinn. Translated by Árni Óskarsson & Magnús Sigurðsson. Reykjavík: Undirheimar, 2013.
 ∴  Zwiastun smierci. Translated by Iwona Zimnicka. Warszawa: Prószynski, 2014.
 ∴  The Stolen Angel. Translated by Martin Aitken. New York: Grand Central, 2018.

De glemte piger. København: People's, 2011.
 ∴  De bortglömda. Translated by Ninni Holmqvist. Stockholm: Massolit, 2012.
 ∴  Die vergessenen Mädchen. Translated by Marieke Heimburger. München: Piper, 2014.
 ∴  The Forgotten Girls. Translated by Signe Rød Golly. New York: Grand Central, 2015.
 ∴  Le bambine dimenticate. Translated by Alessandro Sorti. Roma: Fazi, 2017.
 ∴  Les filles oubliées. Translated by Martine Desoille. Bernay: Terra Nova, 2017.

Dødesporet. København: People's, 2013.
 ∴  Dödsstigen. Translated by Ninni Holmqvist. Stockholm: Massolit, 2014.
 ∴  Der Pfad des Totes. Translated by Marieke Heimburger. München: Piper, 2015.
 ∴  The Killing Forest. Translated by Mark Kline. Boston: Grand Central, 2016.
 ∴  Dauðaslóðin. Translated by Ingunn Snædal. Reykjavík: Bjartur, 2016.
 ∴  La foresta assassina. Translated by Alessandro Sorti. Roma: Fazi, 2018.

Kvinden de meldte savnet. København: People's, 2014.
 ∴  The Lost Woman. Translated by Mark Kline. New York: Grand Central, 2017.
 ∴  Talin af. Translated by Ingunn Snædal. Reykjavík: Bjartur, 2017.

My but Sara Blædel's Forgotten Girls is a blood-spattered novel. I count ten dead bodies and several violent rapes. I may have lost count. The crimes are supposed to have occurred over a few decades, but still. And to think that they all occur in the neighborhood of Hvalsø, a Danish village of about 4,000 people.

Our heroine is Louise Rick, a detective with a troubled professional past (three novels worth, that I haven't read yet) who's accepted a new assignment as head of a special unit devoted to missing-persons cases. She is our focus almost throughout, though her best friend Camilla Lind, an investigative reporter, is the reflector-character in a few chapters. This tight focus on Rick puts The Forgotten Girls well into the detective-inspector category. The dynamics of the office are very important; so is Louise's personal life. The feel of the whole exercise is close to that of Jussi Adler-Olsen's Kvinden i buret, where Carl Mørck makes a similar move to a small esoteric division of the Danish police, and ends up uncovering a similar history of a woman being held captive in atrocious circumstances.

The Forgotten Girls drew some negative criticism for its seemingly romance-novel elements. In the Washington Post, Patrick Anderson expressed

the hope … that in future books, Blaedel will give us less of Louise's love life and more of the uncompromising realism that distinguishes this novel at its best.
Although … I can't help thinking that the love lives that lie in tatters throughout Scandinavian Krimis are a distinguishing feature of the genre. If we can sit through volume after volume of Martin Beck's bad marriage, divorce, and new relationship, or Kurt Wallander's bad divorce and new relationship, or Erlendur's bad divorce and new relationships, we can certainly enjoy a female detective working through poisonous memories of disastrous relationships and trying to start a new disastrous relationship. Why no sauce for the goose?

As Anderson notes, sex permeates The Forgotten Girls. The crimes Rick investigates are sexual. She herself has strong desires but difficulty establishing sexual contact with others. Her friend Camilla is marrying impulsively, carried away in part by sexual euphoria, and alternately squabbles with her fiancé Frederik and is swept away by her desire for him.

The serial killer is also a serial rapist, and Rick ultimately comes close to being both raped and killed by him. Her own history in the community (she grew up near Hvalsø) gets wound up in the search for the criminal. Many of the men in semi-rural Sjælland, in this novel (and only in fiction, I hope) seem to be potential rapists. They try to control Rick and other women by keeping them under sexual threat and policing the women's own desires and conduct. The killer is ultimately not tried, but killed by a man avenging the rape of his wife. Justice seems adequately if roughly dispensed, but the underlying sexual dynamic of the community remains, and it's a brutal one.

It reaches to Rick's office in Copenhagen. She has an arrogant male boss who cares more about statistical appearances than justice. He's promised that she could hire her own teammates. Instead she's stuck with an alcoholic named Eik whom she has to fish out of a dive bar in order to start work. Other men in the office hit on her, and the female secretary who rules the roost resents Rick's presence and makes her life administratively miserable. Petty, soap-opera stuff from one perspective, but a commentary on the difficulties that professional women face in many workplaces. Romance, chick lit, and other feminine trends in fiction are often the flip side of feminism, and not even all that flip. They can be shorthand for critical skepticism about workaday feminist practice.

Anderson, Patrick. Book review: The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel. Washington Post, 8 February 2015.

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