Sun and Shadow is the first book that was translated into English in Ake Edwardson’s crime fiction series about Chief Inspector Erik Winter. It is yet another of those suspenseful, crafty and excellent Swedish crime fiction novels!
The main character of the series, Erik Winter, is a very interesting character. He is a bit of a snob who loves Italian clothes and excellent food, a jazz fan and fond of cooking. He comes across as quite arrogant, especially to people who do not know him. But he is also considerate and philosophical, and the youngest policeman ever to have achieved his elevated rank in Sweden.
In Sun and Shadow we are introduced to swingers in the city of Gothenburg in Sweden. A couple entertain a stranger in their Gothenburg flat, a man who plays death metal music and doesn’t behave quite as expected. Instead of having steamy sex with the couple, he kills them and leaves their apartment with the death metal music still playing.
The dead couple is found by a young newspaper delivery boy. For more than a week he has watched his deliveries piling up behind the front door. Also, the loud music playing inside the flat seems odd and the boy contacts the police.
What greets Chief Inspector Erik Winter and his team when they arrive at the scene of the murder, appears as a grotesque stage setting. There are some clues, but they are hard to follow. Erik Winter feels that the murderer is providing them with a riddle of nightmares, of good versus evil, of sun and shadow.
Then the murderer hits again. Another couple is killed. The murder has taken place very close to Erik Winter’s home, and his pregnant girlfriend is nervous. And she is also scared by mysterious phone calls. As the investigation proceeds, it unearths a possible link between the murderer and the police force. So now even friendly faces are not to be trusted and, when the killer strikes again, Winter is in a race against time.
Sun and Shadow is excellently written and a great crime fiction novel. The translation by Laurie Thompson seems a little stilted at times. In my opinion it is a little too slow in the beginning, but many readers will probably appreciate the time and space devoted to character development and descriptions of the setting of the book. And Ake Edwardson is very good at getting into the psyche of his characters. The plot is rich and full of interesting twists. Edwardson leaves a number of clues to his readers, but even so the solution is somewhat surprising. Overall, Sun and Shadow is a well-rounded, compelling and very entertaining crime-novel.