The Treacherous Net – Helene Tursten (translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy)

(Reviewed by Melanie Hamilton)

You would think that Detective Inspector Irene Huss had enough to contend with between a gang war and a mummified body in the chimney.

In The Treacherous Net, Helene Turston makes Irene’s work life really difficult. She is saddled with Superintendent Efva Thylqvist who keeps her attention on the male detectives and the department’s bottom line. Amidst the coffee breaks with cinnamon buns and princess cakes, challenges for Irene and the Goteborg detective team come fast and furious. Add to the mummy and the two dead rival gang members two dead girls and summer holidays taking away any extra help and you have a police department stretched to its limits.
Turston doesn’t relieve the pressure from Irene’s personal life either. Her aging mother is hospitalized after a fall and her chef husband is unhappy with his job. Still, she barely tolerates being ignored while her boss flirts with and manipulates her male colleagues. In spite of lacking support from her boss, Irene and Asa Nystrom–a champion kick-boxer and summer replacement–take on the sex-trafficker who is grooming–and possibly murdering–teen-age girls.

Meanwhile, the mummy case has been turned over to the cold-case unit. Following up on old clues, current forensics and local witnesses, the mummy case takes us on a spy chase and Sweden’s relationship with the Nazis during World War II.

The Treacherous Net is not at all what I expected from a Swedish police procedural. For all the murder and mayhem the overall tone remains light. I am reminded of episodes of NYPD Blue and Law and Order where dark humor relieved the tension. For that, local color and historical interest I recommend The Treacherous Net and would love to read more about DI Irene Huss and her colleagues.

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