Esther de Laurenti is a newly retired academic living in the house where she grew up. She lives on the top floor and rents out the three lower floors. She fancies herself a novelist and is working on a murder mystery.
She is devastated when Julie Stender, her first floor tenant, age twenty-one, is brutally murdered in the house. She is even MORE devastated when she becomes aware that the murder closely mirrors the plot of her work in progress…Jeppe Kørner, in his forties, is newly divorced from a wife that he loved very much. They separated because his wife wanted children and Jeppe couldn’t provide them. Now, living alone, he doesn’t eat or sleep enough and he is very thin, slightly germaphobic, suffers from back problems and is a little too dependent on OxyContin pain killers.
Anette Werner has been happily married for twenty years, is a ‘comfort eater’, adores animals, and is not known for her tact. Jeppe thinks she is highly annoying and temperamental. She thinks Jeppe is arrogant.
Others on the police team include:
Thomas Larsen – the youngest of the detectives and shamelessly ambitious which gets on Jeppe’s nerves.
Sara Saidani – of Tunisian decent, quiet, industrious, and serious, she is the single mother of two young girls. Sara’s strength is her coding expertise and her superior knowledge of online investigations.
Torben Falck – the oldest of the detectives on the team who is fond of his impressive graying mustache, wears colourful suspenders, and prides himself on making bad puns. Despite his eccentricities, Falck is dependable and a thorough and talented investigator.
This police procedural is the first of four novels in the Danish crime fiction series set in Copenhagen featuring Danish detectives Jeppe Kørner & Anette Werner. So far, this is the only one that has been translated to English, and I can assure you the translation is seamless.
The characters were portrayed very sympathetically and I really enjoyed the intricate plotting. Of the two lead detectives, Jeppe Kørner was by far the most prominent in this book, though subsequent books will no doubt feature Anette Werner more prominently. The pair are unlikely. They seem antagonistic and have little if anything in common beyond a begrudgingly mutual respect.
“Apparently the two of them complemented each other in a way they themselves failed to see.”
The murder case they are investigating was well plotted and involved many interesting characters and vivid imagery. The action of the novel takes place during a hot Copenhagen summer, and the meticulously planned murder presents some unique challenges for the police team.
The cogent ending was very satisfying which makes me want to pursue the remainder of this excellent series as soon as they are translated into English. Recommended!
Katrine Engberg (b. 1975) had already attained the status of acclaimed dancer and choreographer when she began writing. Honing her voice and authorship while simultaneously continuing to contribute to the Arts, both as a director and a choreographer, Engberg soon emerged as a virtuoso of sensitive portrayals and ingeniously intertwined plot threads. Written in 2016, The Tenant is Engberg’s crime fiction debut and the first book in the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Copenhagen series, hailed for its refreshing style and lovable characters. Four books have been written in the series to date.