The Sanctuary

Scout. (Kørner and Werner, Bk. 4). Feb. 2023. 336p. tr. from Danish by Tara Chace. ISBN 9781668002278. $28.99. M
This is the conclusion (following The Harbor) to the police procedural series featuring Engberg’s Danish detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner. A man is cut in half by a power saw and the halves of his body are stuffed into suitcases that won’t be discovered for months, making identification even more difficult. The hunt leads to the island of Bornholm. Life there is incestuous: everyone knows everyone. Sins from 30 years past float up to contaminate this new murder. Normally, Anette would follow Jeppe’s lead in investigating, but he’s on unpaid leave and doesn’t know if he wants to return to police work. He’s working as a lumberjack on the island now, but Anette reels him in, small tasks becoming bigger. In the end, he almost becomes a victim himself. The narrative shuttles among Anette, Jeppe, and Esther, who’s writing a biography of a distinguished anthropologist who lived on Bornholm. The anthropologist’s letters eventually help solve the case. The sections dealing with procedure in this book are authentic and compelling: slow, small steps toward knowing what happened. But every time a letter intrudes, the action stops and has to be rebooted afterward.
VERDICT A tepid mystery that will appeal primarily to aficionados of Scandinavian noir.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing