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Seven Graves One Winter – Christoffer Petersen

Review by Gill Car

Seven Graves One Winter – Christoffer Petersen

I’ve always enjoyed my choice of holiday destination at the same temperature as my favourite crime novel locations: Cold. And it doesn’t come much colder than Greenland, the setting for Christoffer Petersen’s “Seven Graves, One Winter” the first in a series featuring Constable David Maratse. I discovered this author right at the beginning of Lockdown#1 and was immediately immersed in a world of not just a crime to be solved but also Greenlandic politics, language, traditions, fishing, hunting and sled dog wrangling along with all the other delights and hardships of living and working on a huge rock covered in ice and snow.

In Greenland graves are dug in summer in readiness for those who will die in the frozen winter months when the ground is unforgiving. Retired Constable Maratse is out fishing one day when he hooks the body of a teenage girl. Her mother is a prominent figure who hires the former police officer to investigate the circumstances of her daughter’s death. One of the seven prepared graves has now been filled. Will the case lead to more being used?

Maratse is taciturn by nature but I really enjoyed slowly getting to know about him and his previous history, and he contrasts well with his former police partner and friend Petra Jensen, who later gets her own “Greenland Missing Person” series. Petersen is a prolific author who has several series on the go at any one time. Characters cross between them and he enjoys messing with timelines. The author lived and worked in Greenland for several years and his voice and personal experience concerning daily life on the island feels lived and authentic. If you like your crime cold, laced with intrigue and political shenanigans then I hope, like me, you will be drawn into the world of Maratse and Jensen.