Blackwater

(Fiction; Picador, 1993)


In a 2008 interview, British crime writer Ann Cleeves said, “With crime you know what’s going to happen—there’ll be a murder, and somebody’s going to solve it. So I don’t need to worry about the plot. I can concentrate on what I really enjoy writing, which is about place and people growing out of the place where they were born and where they live.” This characterization of writing a crime novel typifies Blackwater, Swedish author Kerstin Ekman’s seventeenth best seller, and her first to be translated into English. Blackwater opens with a savage killing and ends with a murderer’s capture. But the violence is a backdrop for the author’s real focus: the small village of Blackwater—its thinning forests, old dogs, cream pastries, founding myths, fishing boots, and the doctors, shopkeepers, hippies, and loners who live there.

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