cid

commissaire inspector dottore

a bibliography of detective-inspector novels


karin fossum

the sejer/skarre series

Evas øye. Oslo: Cappelens, 1995.
 ∴  Evas öga. Translated by Helena & Ulf Örnkloo. Stockholm: MånPocket, 1995.
 ∴  Evas Auge. Translated by Gabriele Haefs. München: Piper, 1997.
 ∴  Auga Evu. Translated by Sigríður Halldórsdóttir. Reykjavík: Mál og Menning, 1998.
 ∴  El ojo de Eva. Translated by Kirsti Baggethun and Asunción Lorenzo Torres. Barcelona: Mondadori, 1998.
 ∴  Oko ewy. Translated by Maria Golebiewska-Bijak. Katowice: Ksiaznica, 2000.
 ∴  L'oeil d'Ève. Translated by Gro Tang. Paris: Seuil, 2001.
 ∴  Evas øje. Translated by Ida Jessen. Århus: Klim, 2005.
 ∴  Eva's Eye. Translated by James Anderson. Harvill Secker, 2012.

Se deg ikke tilbake! Oslo: Cappelen, 1996.
 ∴  Se dig inte om! Translated by Helena & Ulf Örnkloo. Stockholm: Forum, 1998.
 ∴  Se dig ikke tilbage. Translated by Alf Andersen. Århus: Klim, 1999.
 ∴  Fremde Blicke. Translated by Gabriele Haefs. München: Piper, 1999.
 ∴  Líttu ekki um öxl. Translated by Franzisca Gunnarsdóttir. Reykjavík: Mál og Menning, 1999.
 ∴  No mires atrás. Translated by Kirsti Baggethun and Asunción Lorenzo Torres. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1999.
 ∴  Ne te retourne pas! Translated by Marie Lunde. Saint-Germain-en-Laye: ODIN, 2001.
 ∴  Don't Look Back. Translated by Felicity David. London: Harvill, 2002.
 ∴  Lo sguardo di uno sconosciuto. Translated by Pierina M. Marocco. Milano: Frassinelli, 2002. Reprinted as La ragazza del lago. Milano: Sperling & Kupfer, 2011.
 ∴  Nie ogladaj sie. Translated by Bolinska-Gostkowska, Ewa. Kraków: Spoleczny, 2008.

Den som frykter ulven. Oslo: Cappelen, 1997.
 ∴  Den der frygter ulven. Translated by Helga Poder. Århus: Klim, 1999.
 ∴  Den som fruktar vargen. Translated by Helena & Ulf Örnkloo. Stockholm: Forum, 1999.
 ∴  Wer hat angst vorm bösen Wolf. Translated by Gabriele Haefs. München: Piper, 2000.
 ∴  Sá er úlfinn óttast. Translated by Érna Árnadóttir. Reykjavík: Mál og Menning, 2000.
 ∴  ¿Quien teme al lobo? Translated by Kirsti Baggethun & Asunción Lorenzo. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 2002.
 ∴  He Who Fears the Wolf. Translated by Felicity David. London: Harvill, 2003.
 ∴  Celui qui a peur du loup. Translated by Alex Fouillet. Paris: Lattès, 2005.
 ∴  Chi ha paura del lupo? Translated by Pierina M. Marocco. Milano: Frassinelli, 2005.
 ∴  Kto sie boi dzikiej bestii. Translated by Rafat Smietana. Kraków: Znak, 2007.

Djevelen holder lyset. Oslo: Cappelen, 1998.
 ∴  När djävulen håller ljuset. Translated by Helena & Ulf Örnkloo. Stockholm: Forum, 2000.
 ∴  Når djævelen holder lyset. Translated by Ida Jessen. København: Gyldendal, 2001.
 ∴  Dunkler Schlaf. Translated by Gabriele Haefs. München: Piper, 2002.
 ∴  When the Devil Holds the Candle. Translated by Felicity David. London: Harvill, 2004.
 ∴  Le diable tient la chandelle. Translated by Alex Fouillet. Paris: France Loisirs, 2005.
 ∴  Za podszeptem diabla. Translated by Anna Topczewska. Kraków: Znak, 2009.

Elskede Poona. Oslo: Cappelen, 2000.
 ∴  Elskede Poona. Translated by Ida Jessen. København: Gyldendal, 2001.
 ∴  Älskade Poona. Translated by Helena & Ulf Örnkloo. Stockholm: Forum, 2001.
 ∴  Stumme Schreie. Translated by Gabriele Haefs. München: Piper, 2002.
 ∴  Elsku Poona. Translated by Jón St. Kristiánsson. Reykjavík: Mál og Menning, 2002.
 ∴  Amatissima Poona. Translated by Pierina M. Marocco. Milano: Frassinelli, 2003.
 ∴  Calling Out For You. Translated by Charlotte Barslund. London: Harvill, 2005. Reprinted as The Indian Bride. Orlando: Harcourt, 2007.
 ∴  La mort indienne. Translated by Alex Fouillet. Paris: Lattès, 2007.
 ∴  Una mujer en tu camino. Translated by Kirsti Baggethun & Asunción Lorenzo. Barcelona: Mondadori, 2007.
 ∴  Utracona. Translated by Arkadiusz Nakoniecznik. Kraków: Znak, 2009.

Svarte sekunder. Oslo: Cappelen, 2002.
 ∴  Sorte sekunder. Translated by Bjarne Nielsen. København: Gyldendal, 2003.
 ∴  Schwarze Sekunden. Translated by Gabriele Haefs. München: Piper, 2003.
 ∴  Svarta sekunder. Translated by Helena & Ulf Örnkloo. Stockholm: Forum, 2004.
 ∴  Black Seconds. Translated by Charlotte Barslund. Orlando: Harcourt, 2007.
 ∴  Secondes noires. Translated by Jean-Baptiste Coursaud. Paris: Lattès, 2008.
 ∴  Czarne sekundy. Translated by Dawid Kain. Slupsk: Ksiezyc, 2012.
 ∴  Segundos negros. Translated by Kirsti Baggethun & Asunción Lorenzo. Barcelona: Mondadori, 2013.

Drapet på Harriet Krohn. Oslo: Cappelen, 2004.
 ∴  Drabet på Harriet Krohn. Translated by Ida Jessen. København: Gyldendal, 2005.
 ∴  Mordet på Harriet Krohn. Translated by Helena & Ulf Örnkloo. Stockholm: Forum, 2005.
 ∴  Der Mord an Harriet Krohn. Translated by Gabriele Haefs. München: Piper, 2006.
 ∴  The Murder of Harriet Krohn. Translated by James Anderson. Boston: Houghton, 2014.
 ∴  Zabójstwo Harriet Krohn. Translated by Elzbieta Hygen. Slupsk: Ksiezyc, 2016.

Den som elsker noe annet. Oslo: Cappelen, 2007.
 ∴  Den som elsker noget andet. Translated by Hanne Richardt Beck. København: Glydendal, 2008.
 ∴  Wer anders liebt. Translated by Gabriele Haefs. München: Piper, 2008.
 ∴  Il bambino nel bosco. Translated by Margherita Podestà Heir. Milano: Frassinelli, 2008.
 ∴  Den som älskar något annat. Translated by Helena & Ulf Örnkloo. Stockholm: Forum, 2008.
 ∴  The Water's Edge. Translated by Charlotte Barslund. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.

Den onde viljen. Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 2008.
 ∴  Den onde vilje. Translated by Poul Bratbjerg Hansen. København: Gyldendal, 2009.
 ∴  Den onda viljan. Translated by Helena & Ulf Örnkloo. Stockholm: Forum, 2009.
 ∴  Bad Intentions. Translated by Charlotte Barslund. London: Harvill Secker, 2010.
 ∴  Böser Wille. Translated by Gabriele Haefs. München: Piper, 2011.
 ∴  Cattive intenzioni. Translated by Margherita Podestà. Milano: Sperling & Kupfer, 2012.

Varsleren. Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 2009.
 ∴  Varsleren. Translated by Poul Bratbjerg Hansen. København: Gyldendal, 2010.
 ∴  Döden skall du tåla. Translated by Helena & Ulf Örnkloo. Stockholm: Forum, 2010.
 ∴  The Caller. Translated by K.E. Semmel. London: Harvill Secker, 2011.
 ∴  Al lupo, al lupo. Translated by Margherita Podestà. Milano: Sperling & Kupfer, 2011.
 ∴  Presagios. Translated by Kirsti Baggethun & Asunción Lorenzo. Barcelona: Mondadori, 2011.
 ∴  L'enfer commence maintenant. Translated by Eva Sauvegrain. Paris: Seuil, 2012.
 ∴  Eine undankbare Frau. Translated by Gabriele Haefs. Berlin: Berlin-Verlag, 2013.

Carmen Zita og døden. Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 2013.
 ∴  Carmen och döden. Translated by Margareta Järnebrand. Stockholm: Forum, 2013.
 ∴  Carmen Zita og døden. Translated by Poul Bratbjerg Hansen. København: Gyldendal, 2014.
 ∴  Schlafe, mein Prinzchen, schlaf ein. Translated by Gabriele Haefs. Berlin: Berlin-Verlag, 2014.
 ∴  The Drowned Boy. Translated by Kari Dickson. Boston: Harcourt, 2015.

Helvetesilden. Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 2014.
 ∴  Helveteselden. Translated by Margareta Järnebrand. Stockholm: Forum, 2015.
 ∴  Helvedesilden. Translated by Poul Bratbjerg Hansen. København: Gyldendal, 2016.
 ∴  Hellfire. Translated by Kari Dickson. London: Harvill Secker, 2016. Reprinted as Hell Fire. Boston: Houghton, 2016.
 ∴  Höllenrose. Translated by Gabriele Haefs. München: Piper, 2017.

Hviskeren. Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 2016.
 ∴  Hviskeren. Translated by Poul Bratbjerg Hansen. København: Gyldendal, 2017.
 ∴  Viskaren. Translated by Margareta Jänebrand. Stockholm: Månpocket, 2018.
 ∴  The Whisperer. Translated by Kari Dickson. London: Harvill, 2018.

Inspector Konrad Sejer and his chief assistant Jacob Skarre do not work alone, but few of their colleagues matter in Karin Fossum's long-running Norwegian series. As their investigations play out, a counterpoint of social and philosophical commentary runs parallel to them, in brief passages of dialogue between Sejer and Skarre.

In Evas øye (1995), Fossum combines two types of crime novel: a detective-inspector procedural and a Simenon-inspired wrong-person story. Inspector Konrad Sejer has two unsolved deaths on his docket: an expensive prostitute who's been smothered in her own bed after meeting a client; a brewery worker who's disappeared and then washed up on a riverbank, stabbed to death. Except for the fact that the bodies were found fairly close together, there's nothing initially to connect the killings except the generic certainty that two unrelated cases in a murder mystery will turn out to have a sinister connection.

The same woman – Eva Magnus, the title character – keeps turning up in connection with the two cases. Sejer wisely assumes that she can tell the whole story. When he literally runs into her by accident halfway through the novel, she breaks down and starts telling (in third person, free-indirect style) the chain of events that led to both murders.

Evas øye is thus a crystalline example of the structure that Tzvetan Todorov finds archetypal in detective fiction: "not one but two stories: the story of the crime and the story of the investigation" (44). First we see Sejer's investigation, and then we see the crime story, an explanation via flashback. But with a difference. Usually in the classic whodunit the detective has the prerogative of telling the story to the assembled suspects (or perhaps to the killer in a private interview), sometimes in the second person: "here's how it happened, this is what you did." But by abandoning the investigation as soon as Eva starts talking – and abandoning even Eva's direct narration – Fossum in effect grafts a different kind of novel onto her conventional detective-inspector story.

The second half of Evas øye is thus closer to what Todorov calls "thriller" and associates with American hard-boiled stories. Yet these American stories are usually from the perspective of a professional, and the thriller portion of Evas øye is from the perspective, essentially, of an innocent who's dragged into a nexus of crime. In that respect it resembles Simenon's romans durs more than it does either policiers or American noirs. Eva starts the novel without criminal tendencies or experiences. She witnesses a killing – of a childhood friend turned prostitute – and then greed and rage take over. Eva ends up killing a man she thinks killed her friend (though he's the wrong man, compounding the noirish chaos of the embedded thriller-story). One thing leads to another, and before long Eva has gone from semi-feckless artist single motherhood to the central role in a crime spree.

The technical skill involved in conceiving and composing Evas øye is considerable. At a certain point in a lifetime of reading, the pleasures of the detective-inspector novel (or many another genre) become meta: you like to see a text that plays self-consciously with the features of the genre. In Evas øye we get a doubled perspective and a doubled stylistic mode.

Evas øye both displays and conceals its engagement with crime fiction. Sejer's sidekick Skarre, who doesn't play as large a role in Evas øye as in some of the other Sejer novels, is reading a "brilliant" crime novel, "in a different league," as translator John Anderson renders it. Sejer informs Skarre that "at home I've got a whole heap of really good crime novels … about as old as you" (50). Meanwhile, police receptionist Mrs. Brenningen is reading a thriller between calls:

She'd witnessed the power play and got through most of her book's intrigues. Now only the lust remained. (95)
Mrs. Brenningen's reading doesn't quite track the reader's own, but the invocation of the rhythms and progress of reading in the same genre that the reader is reading makes for an oblique commentary on the fictionality of the experience, a subtly postmodern note.

As in many of Fossum's Sejer novels, children play important roles, both thematic and narrative. Sejer, himself a grandfather, meets two children who are about his grandson's age: the son of the mistakenly-murdered man, who finds a crucial clue, and Eva's daughter. The children are all innocent, but have their own drives (collecting things, eating constantly) and despite their appealing personalities, they seem to show the rapaciousness of adulthood in kernel form.

Translator James Anderson uses a lot of run-on sentences. Maybe the original Norwegian does, too.

Todorov, Tzvetan. "The Typology of Detective Fiction." Translated by Richard Howard. In The Poetics of Prose (Oxford: Blackwell, 1977). 42-52.

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