The Tenant is an excellent mystery from Denmark that opens with a shocking murder of a young woman, a tenant in a house in Copenhagen. The murder is discovered by another tenant, an elderly man who nearly dies himself from shock. Esther de Laurenti, the owner/landlord is a retired academic who lives on the third floor and is writing her first mystery novel. It soon becomes clear that in some way the murder is centered on her, particularly after a second murder follows soon after.
Jeppe is the lead investigator on the case. He’s not at his best, still recovering from a painful betrayal and divorce. He usually relies on intuition, but it seems not to be working this time. Perhaps the oxycontin and acetaminophen for his backache is dulling his thought processes. Nonetheless, careful police procedure and the process of tossing ideas and theories back and forth among the other investigators advance the case. Perhaps he is not firing on all cylinders, but when someone confesses, his intuition kicks into high gear.
I enjoyed The Tenant very much. It has the diligent procedural rigor expected of Scandinavian police procedurals. It also has the elements of the grotesque that put the noir in Scandinoir. The mystery is complex. The resolution is satisfying, though as grotesque as the murder. It is fair so that readers will perhaps identify the killer a few pages before the detective. There are enough examples of error to make the detectives realistically imperfect. There might be a bit more of Jeppe’s internal thoughts, but maybe that’s the oxy. The translation is excellent, so much so that it never felt translated. I look forward to more novels from Engberg.
The Tenant will be released on January 14th. I received an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley.