The Black Path by Asa Larsson is third book featuring Rebecka Martinsson. When the story starts with the recovery of Rebecka Martinsson from a trauma, I started wondering if I made a mistake by picking up the third book, without reading the first two. Looking into some reviews on the internet, I found that The Black Path works quite well as a standalone. Now to the story.
A woman is found murdered in an 'ark', a fishing cabin with a hole in the floor through which one could fish from a hole in the frozen lake. Inspector Anna-Maria Mella and Sven-Erik Stalnacke start investigating the case. Who is the murdered woman? What is she doing alone in the Ark? Who killed her and why?
Once you know who the victim is, you know who did it too. The story develops into the possible motives and how she is murdered. Rebecka after the trauma moves to Kiruna and helps with the investigation. While Anna-Maria is involved in the field work part of the investigation, Rebecka scours the internet for information and analyses the financial information of a leading industrialist to help with the investigation. We get insight into Rebecka's childhood, why she lived with her grandmother and the family life of Anna-Maria.
The backstories of various key players (read suspects) are narrated and the various story arcs converge together leading to the final denouement. One aspect that caught my attention in this story is the concept of Maternal love. Rebecka's mother is not able to cope up with the responsibilities of motherhood and finally leaves her with her grandmother. Ester is brought up by foster parents, and longs for appreciation from her foster mother. It did look like Ester's foster mother loved her, but why can't she appreciate the fact that Ester is a better artist than her. Why should she be so cruel? While Ester's character and story is interesting, I couldn't help wondering the purpose of her story. It does add up in the end-in the Black Path.
Translated from Swedish by Marlaine Delargy, The Black Path is a gripping police procedural.
Note: If you wonder what an Ark looks like. I think it is the cabin in the book cover.