When the Devil Holds the Candle by Karin Fossum

When the Devil Holds the Candle

byKarin FossumTranslated byFelicity David

Paperback | May 7, 2007

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When two teenagers steal a purse from a stroller, it results in an infants death. Unaware of the enormity of their crime, Zipp and Andreas are intent on committing another. They follow an elderly woman home, and Andreas enters her house with his switchblade. In the dark, Zipp waits for his friend to come out. Inspector Konrad Sejer and his colleague Jacob Skarre see no connection between the infants death and the reported disappearance of a local delinquent. And so while the confusion outside mounts, the heart-stopping truth unfolds inside the old womans home. Unflappable as ever, Sejer digs below the surface of small- town tranquility in an effort to understand how and why violence destroys everyday lives.

About The Author

 KARIN FOSSUM is the author of the internationally successful Inspector Konrad Sejer crime series. Her recent honors include a Gumshoe Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. She lives Sylling, Norway.David Felicity is a contributor for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt titles including: "He Who Fears the Wolf", "Don't...

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Details & Specs

Title:When the Devil Holds the CandleFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.9 inPublished:May 7, 2007Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0156032120

ISBN - 13:9780156032124

Customer Reviews of When the Devil Holds the Candle


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Read from the Book

Chapter 1 The courthouse. September 4, 4 p.m. Jacob Skarre glanced at his watch. His shift was over. He slipped a book out of his jacket pocket and read the poem on the first page. Its like virtual reality, he thought. Poof!and youre in a completely different landscape. The door to the corridor stood open, and suddenly he was aware that someone was watching him, someone just beyond the range of his excellent peripheral vision. A vibration, light as a feather, barely perceptible, finally reached him. He closed the book. Can I help you? The woman didnt move, just stood there staring at him with an odd expression. Skarre looked at her tense face and thought she seemed familiar. She was no longer young, maybe about sixty, and wore a coat and dark boots. There was a scarf around her neck, just visible; he could see it above her collar. Its pattern offered a sharp contrast to what she most likely possessed in the way of speed and elegance: racehorses with jockeys in colorful silks against a dark blue background. She had a wide, heavy face, elongated by a prominent chin. Her eyebrows were dark and had grown almost together. She was clutching a handbag against her stomach. Most noticeable of all was her gaze. Her eyes were blazing in that pale face. They fixed him with a tremendous force. Then he remembered who she reminded him of. What an odd coincidence, he thought, as he waited for her to speak. He sat there as if riveted by the silence. Any minute now, she was going to say something momentous. It has to do with a missing person, she said. Her voice was rough. A rusty tool creaking into motion after long idleness. Behind her white forehead burned a fire. Skarre could see it flickering in her irises. He was trying not to make assumptions, but obviously she was possessed. Gradually it dawned on him what sort of person he was dealing with. In his mind he rehearsed the days reports, but he could not recall whether any patients had been listed as missing from the psychiatric institutes in the district. She was breathing heavily, as if it had cost her considerable effort to come here. But she had made up her mind, driven by something. Skarre wondered how she had got past the reception area and Mrs. Brenningens eagle eye. Who is missing? he asked in a friendly voice. She kept staring at him. He met her gaze with the same force, curious to see if she would flinch. Her expression turned to one of confusion. I know where he is. Skarre was startled. You know where he is? So hes not missing? He probably wont live much longer, she said. Her thin lips began to quiver. Whom are we talking about? Skarre said. He hazarded a guess: Do you mean your husband? Yes. My husband. She nodded resolutely, stood there, straight-backed and unmoving, her handbag still pressed to her stomach. Skarre leaned back in his chair. Your husband is sick, and youre worried about him. Is he old? It was an inappropriate question. Life is life, as long as a perso

Editorial Reviews

Fossum's Konrad Sejer procedurals, set in Oslo, are among the many Scandinavian mysteries that have followed Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series to the U.S. Her first novel to appear here, Don't Look Back (2004), was very much in the world-weary Wallander mold, with Sejer investigating a 15-year-old girl's murder and finding multiple layers of ambiguity. Although Sejer is present again this time, the story is much less like a contemporary European procedural and more like a Ruth Rendell psychological thriller. As Sejer and his colleague Jacob Skarre investigate a mugging and the disappearance of a delinquent, the reader sees what the coppers don't, following the tragic events in the life of the delinquent and the very disturbed elderly woman he encounters. At times this story is almost unendurably painful, as our sense of the inevitable clashes with our uncertainty about the outcome. All of the characters are victims of a kind, and all are trapped in one way or another. We feel equally trapped, by our proximity to so many lives gone wrong, and by our inability to close the book.