Jeppe Kørner, divorced and in his forties, was in a relationship with Sara Saidani, a work colleague and one of the members of his team. Now, they have parted ways and he is bereft. He has taken a leave of absence from his position on Copenhagen’s Homicide Investigation Team and is working on the island of Bornholm, felling trees.
Anette Werner is in her mid forties and has been happily married for twenty-five years. She 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. Anette came to motherhood only recently and is the mother of a toddler girl. She has a very understanding husband, which helps when she is on a demanding case. During this book he has taken the little girl away for a few days so Anette is not torn between work and home as she usually is.
Others characters of note:
Esther de Laurenti – Jeppe’s friend, is in her seventies who has just buried her long-time roommate. In this novel, Esther is alone and grieving, so takes herself off to the island of Bernholm to research her next book – a biography of anthropologist, Margrethe Dybris.
Margrethe Dybris – though dead before the book begins, we meet and get to know this character quite well though the myriad letters she has saved over the course of her life.
In this, the fourth and final novel in this series, Werner has a serious case. One half of a body has been discovered in a suitcase in a Copenhagen park. She is the lead with her partner on leave… Things turn even more crucial when the second half of the body is found in another suitcase near Copenhagen’s Citadel.Then, as the case sheds more and more light on the victim and possible crime scene, there are obvious links back to the island of Bernholm – and luckily for Werner, she has someone there who can give her some assistance… Jeppe Kørner is roped into the investigation despite his pleas to remain at a distance from police work.
I really enjoyed Engberg’s previous novels in this series, and “The Sanctuary” ensures that these characters ended in a satisfactory way. With rich characterization, a compelling and multi-layered story-line, and a stunning setting, this crime thriller/police procedural met my expectations. The island setting of Bernholm added extra appeal as island settings are among my favourites.
This police procedural gave as much weight to the personal back-stories of the main, recurring characters as it did to the crime featured in the book. This is something that I really appreciate in a crime novel. The novel also included a historic murder case which had ties to the present day crime.
The crime in this book was a particularly grisly one, it has to be said.
“The Sanctuary” was a study of human relationships. It was also a murder mystery, and a crime thriller with themes of betrayal, jealousy, and missing persons.
Fast-paced, and with a compelling plot, this Danish crime thriller will be sure to be enjoyed by many fans of Scandinavian noir. Recommended!
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Scout Press/Simon and Schuster Canada via Edelweiss.
This novel was translated from Danish to English by Tara Chace.
ISBN: 9781668002278 – ASIN: B0B3Y8BL4S – 336 pages
Published by Simon & Schuster – February 7, 2023Katrine 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.