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THE DROWNED BOY

Karin Fossum

  • Original Title: CARMEN ZITA OG DØDEN
  • Publication date: September 2013
  • Publisher: CAPPELEN DAMM
  • Country: NO
  • 216 print pages
  • Crime fiction/Detective novel

Information

  • Epoch: Contemporary
  • Time Period: 21st century
  • Location setting: Norway
  • Themes: FAMILY, Dysfunctional family, PEOPLE facing life, Search for the truth, Family secrets, Handicap

Pitch

Inspector Sejer is involved in the case of a drowned 15-month-old boy with Down Syndrome. Chief Inspector Sejer must ask himself if one of the parents could have been involved. The nature of grief is explored, along with the experience of parenting children with learning difficulties.

Comments

Shortlisted for the 2016 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

Karin Fossum is a Norwegian author of crime fiction, often referred to as the "Norwegian queen of crime".

The The 2016 Petrona Award judges's comments:
"Fossum's spare prose and straightforward narrative belie the complexity at the heart of this novel. After the drowning of a young child with Down's Syndrome, Chief Inspector Sejer must ask himself if one of the parents could have been involved. The nature of grief is explored, along with the experience of parenting children with learning difficulties. There's a timeless feel to the writing and a sense of justice slowly coming to pass."

Summary

Carmen and Nicolai failed to resuscitate their son, Tommy, after finding him floating in their backyard pond. When Inspector Skarre arrives on the scene, Carmen reports that Tommy, a healthy toddler with Down syndrome, wandered into the garden while Nicolai was working in the basement and she was cleaning the house. Skarre senses something is off with Carmen’s story and consults his trusted colleague, the famed Inspector Sejer. An autopsy reveals Tommy’s lungs to be full of soap.

When Sejer and Skarre revisit the couple, Carmen, an epileptic, changes her story, confessing that she’d been knocked unconscious by a seizure while bathing Tommy. When she came to, she found him drowned in the tub and, horrified and frightened, threw him into the pond.

But Skarre and Sejer’s doubt is not appeased and the case is reopened. What more could Carmen be hiding? And what lengths will she take to cover her guilt? As Carmen’s own family starts to doubt her, Skarre and Sejer work to find the truth.

go further

  • Author’s biography

    Karin Fossum was born November 6, 1954 in Sandefjord. She has 2 children (Martin and Vilde). Fossum now lives in Oslo.

    Karin Fossum made her literary debut with a collection of poetry in 1974. This was awarded with Tarjei Vesaas' Debutant Prize. Later she has written another book of poetry and two short story collections. Her major break through came with the crime novel about Konrad Sejer Evas øye (Eve's Eye) in 1995. This is an enormously exciting and well crafted crime novel, and displays a tough literary style that grips the reader instantly.