The Ice Queen
The Ice Queen by Nele Neuhaus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An elderly Jewish man is found dead in his home with the numbers 11645 beside him. When Henning Kirchoff does the autopsy, he finds the man’s blood group tattooed on his arm; this means the man wasn’t Jewish at all but must have been a member of the SS. After that, there are a series of other murders of elderly people, all friends of the philanthropist Vera Kaltansee and all with the number 11645 on the wall beside them. Who are these people really, and who is it that knows their secrets? Pia Kirchoff and Oliver Bodenstein must find out before murder comes too close to home for comfort.

Having read this book and very much enjoyed it, I find that there are other novels in the series but that they haven’t been translated in order (rather as Jo Nesbo). This is a real shame, as the police characters here are also, like Harry Hole, interesting in their own right and I very much enjoyed their back stories which I am not sure would really work if I read any more in the wrong order. However, as a stand alone, this one worked really well and I enjoyed reading about Oliver and Pia and their personal lives as part of the larger story.

I have recently read some other novels, some of which have been well written and some not so well, but none of which have been such easy reading as this. I do like to read something to make me think, but after those, I really enjoyed this one being exactly as I expected – enough to engage me in the story but not too much to make it tough going. The storyline is an interesting one and does make one examine the motives of all the characters, but they are also well presented and well written and I did have sympathy with quite a lot of them, even some of the less savoury ones.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable read for fans of crime thrillers, and I shall look for the beginning of the series when it comes out in English.

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