Finnish punk singer and author Kati Hiekkapelto is a newer voice on the Nordic Noir scene, but has quickly elbowed her way into must-read status for fans of elegantly written, socially conscious mystery writing.
In this third installment in her Anna Fekete series, which has won and been shortlisted for awards in multiple countries and languages, her Finnish detective is dragged into a case while on vacation. Fekete has returned to her childhood home of Kanizsa, a Serbian village near the Hungarian border. Her relaxing summer break is torn asunder when her bag is snatched, only for the thief to turn up dead on the banks of the river soon after. But what happened to the little gypsy girl who had been with the thief? And why are the local police so keen to say it was an accidental drowning when facts don’t fit? As Fekete is drawn into her own private investigation, she finds the locals and her family putting up roadblocks at every turn. As the case begins to collide alarmingly with her own past, and the death of her policeman father many years before, Fekete realizes people close to her are keeping big secrets.
The Exiled is a beautifully written mystery full of intriguing characters and a superb sense of place. Furthermore, Hiekkapelto is unafraid to dig into contemporary prejudices in relation to gypsies and refugees, and the way hosts of people are dismissed by those in authority and everyday citizens. Topical, elegant, and chilling, The Exiled is further evidence that Hiekkapelto is a star on the rise.