Wednesday, January 7, 2009
A Favorite Mystery
I am a life long reader and what more perfect place to work than in a bookstore.
We have a bigger spiffier sign now but I like the simplicity of our older sign which I recently came across in a back stairwell at the store.
I'm always on the lookout for a newly published author or one I haven't read. Really, it's part of my job to read a lot. Customers often say something like " Okay, I've read........what else can you recommend?" Since I was young mysteries have been my favorite. This past year I've discovered several "new to me authors" whose books I am happy to recommend. One favorite is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland it's the first of three mysteries by written by Larsson who died in 2004.
The cover of the book is simple yet sophisticated.
An aging industrialist hires an infamous journalist to investigate the forty year old disappearance of his niece. A condition of employment is the journalist must live for a year on the industrialist's family compound which is on an island. Once there the journalist hires a young tattooed computer expert (hacker) as his assistant to help investigate family members. Thus the title The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The Swedish title literally translates something like "Men Who Hate Women" which sounds flat in English and not as enticing as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The mystery is well constructed and the book well written. What sets it apart from other mysteries for me is how well the author (and translator) describes life on the island in winter. I could feel the cold the inadequately dressed journalist felt when walking around the island. I was amused by the descriptions of his buying and realizing his need to layer clothes under a warmer jacket. I was in the car with him as he drove/slid around on ice and snow covered roads. I've become a more critical mystery reader over the years and in addition to being well written and interesting I want something else too and in this book it's winter.
The attractive cover for the mass market paperback edition which will be available in the US in summer of 2009.