Book Review – The Hand That Trembles

The Hand That Trembles by Kjell Eriksson (Allison & Busby) ISBN: 978 0 7490 4019 2

Inspector Ann Lindell is the creation of Kjell Eriksson, winner of the Swedish Crime Academy Award for Best Crime Novel. She’s appeared in ten novels. The Hand that Trembles is one of the first to be translated in English.

Sven-Arne Persson lives an anonymous life in India after disappearing from his public life 12 years previously. When he hears that his uncle, a Communist and Spanish Civil War veteran, plans to publish his memoirs he returns to Sweden.

Are these memoirs connected to the unsolved murder of a Nazi criminal that Ann’s boss is researching?  Ann doesn’t get too involved since she’s investigating the find of a dismembered Asian female foot in an isolated area. Interviewing the inhabitants, including three single men and a confused artist, brings up musings about life and loneliness for Anna.

The novel starts so slowly I considered putting the book aside. Curiosity at how the stories connect kept me at it. Although the pace does pick up, it remains an unbalanced read. I don’t understand why the storylines of Sven-Arne and Ann’s investigation were brought together in one book.

Eriksson’s socio-political commentary seems to be a main thread, but by spreading it over the stories the punch is less impactful then intended.

Josine Overdevest 

Posted on: 30th August 2012