Last year’s The Caller was this reviewer’s first exposure to Karin Fossum’s world-famous Inspector Sejer series, and it was a most memorable experience. This new translation of Eva’s Eye allows English-language readers to finally experience the Inspector’s first published case.
Less dark than The Caller, Eva’s Eye is no less satisfying a read. The book opens with the discovery of a body in a river. The remains belong to one Egil Einarsson, an employee of a local brewery, who went missing some six months before. It’s obvious that he’s been murdered, as his body bears multiple stab wounds. Sejer is initially at a loss for leads, until he associates Einarsson’s death with the killing of prostitute Maja Durban a few days before Einarsson’s disappearance. Once he’s made that link, he focuses on one suspect: Eva Marie Magnus, a local artist who seems to be on the periphery of both cases. The reasons behind that linkage are, to say the least, unique.
The book’s narration is arresting—whether that’s a tribute to Fossum’s original Norwegian prose, or to the special skill of her translator, James Anderson, or both, is hard to say. But what makes the book so compelling is Sejer himself—his humanity, and his way with family, colleagues, and, of course, suspects. It’s fun to be in his presence, so much so that you miss him when Fossum is compelled to tell the story from another character’s viewpoint. It’s easy to see why Fossum has been so suc- cessful telling stories about the preternaturally patient Sejer—he’s a detective character for the ages.