Camilla’s books are set in Fjällbacka, the coastal village where Camilla was born and raised. Its name derives from the imposing rocky outcrop that the village encircles.
After the sudden death of her parents, author Erica Falck returns to her childhood home in the small west coast community of Fjällbacka.
She is coming back to sort out the childhood home – which her sister Anna wants to sell ( or rather her odious wife beating husband does). Whilst Erica is sorting that out, Alex, a school friend is found murdered – encased in an icy bath – the Ice Princess. Alex’s parents ask her to write about their daughter which involves her in the local investigation
Meeting up with the local detective Patrik Hedstrom, also a childhood friend of Erica’s, she is able to gather and discover a lot of information for herself such as why the people of Fjällbacka seem so reluctant to offer information. One resident Anders who is always on his computer seems to know something but he isn’t talking either.
Just what did happen in the village all those years ago and why isn’t anyone talking? What are they afraid of?
This was the first book I read in Swedish and well let’s just say the vocabulary gathered from this was perhaps not the best way to start off lol. However, having said that, it was a great first read which introduced me to Camilla Läckberg’s world and brought me to Fjällbacka – a small town on the West Coast of Sweden and a stunning if harsh environment during the winter months.
The links of a small remote town and the issues of meeting up with and facing up to issues of the past were at the crux of Ice Princess and it was nice to meet Erica and Patrik and see their budding romance although the Bridget Jones references did jar with me slightly being in the middle of a crime novel. One which ended in a way I was hoping it wouldn’t – but a good shock element certainly and one which fitted with the secrets of the past.
The mix of domestic life, family dramas as well as the crime angle I think works very well for this Scandi drama – the location is as much a character as any of the human faces, if not more so. The small town thinking, the remoteness and the feeling of ‘ no where to turn’ spins the situation described on its head.
The characters are a perfect mix of a group of people that would live in such a remote village – Mellberg, the chief of police who has been stationed here after being moved from his post in the big city following an alleged altercation with a refugee, Patrick and his childhood sweetheart Erica, fishermen such as Eilert Berg who finds the dead body at the start of the book, and of course people who lived there years ago and who have secrets from the past that threaten their future….
It is the locations that are perhaps the star of the show as Fjällbacka has the feel that it is the blueprint or the map of Camilla Lackberg – the town ws always here yet it almost feels like a film set such is its beauty. One where you do not want to find an Alex or a girl trapped in the fishing nets (the Stonecutter). But be sure to head of to the church (the focus of many a scene) and Ingrid Bergman’s statue oh and maybe a jaunt over to where Patrick and Erica live…
Camilla blends good writing, solid locations and a Miss Marplesque feel to the whole proceedings and I care about where her characters go next.
There are some great tours to be had in and around the region of F and this is a brilliant place to start – http://www.vastsverige.com/en/experience-fjallbacka/
Visit Camilla herself here – http://www.camillalackberg.com/