“So much to relish here . . . the plot is gripping, and the writing is just lovely!” DIANE SETTERFIELD, author of Once Upon A River
“The year’s most memorable narrator . . . An unusual and intriguing crime story” SUNDAY TIMES BOOKS OF THE YEAR
“Niemi succeeds in constructing a story that works as a murder mystery and as a compelling study of a dangerously inward-looking community” SUNDAY TIMES
“A riveting, psychologically astute mystery . . . It is not to be missed” BOOKLIST
“An original and gripping crime story” THE TIMES
**NOW SHORTLISTED FOR THE CWA INTERNATIONAL DAGGER**
It is 1852, and in Sweden’s far north, deep in the Arctic Circle, charismatic preacher and Revivalist Lars Levi LÃ¦stadius impassions a poverty-stricken congregation with visions of salvation. But local leaders have reason to resist a shift to temperance over alcohol.
Jussi, the young Sami boy LÃ¦stadius has rescued from destitution and abuse, becomes the preacher’s faithful disciple on long botanical treks to explore the flora and fauna. LÃ¦stadius also teaches him to read and write – and to love and fear God.
When a milkmaid goes missing deep in the forest, the locals suspect a predatory bear is at large. A second girl is attacked, and the sheriff is quick to offer a reward for the bear’s capture. Using early forensics and daguerreotype, LÃ¦stadius and Jussi find clues that point to a far worse killer on the loose, even as they are unaware of the evil closing in around them.
To Cook a Bear explores how communities turn inwards, how superstition can turn to violence, and how the power of language can be transformative in a richly fascinating mystery.
“Superb suspense . . . Simply a great literary experience!” V.G. (Sweden)
“A masterpiece of narrative” La Vanguardia (Spain)
“A philosophical novel, a crime novel, a historical novel and a coming-of-age story complement one another” La Stampa (Italy)
“One is transported into a strange time and a fascinating world that is both beautiful and brutal” Politiken (Denmark)
“Formidable delivery . . . Unlike anything else you have read . . . An incredible novel” Adresseavisen
Translated from the Swedish by Deborah Bragan-Turner