The Tenant by Katrine Engberg
Gallery/Scout Press: 1/14/20
eBook review copy; 368 pages
The Tenant by Katrine Engberg is a highly recommended debut police procedural set in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen police detectives Jeppe Korner
and Anette Werner are assigned to the case of a young woman found
brutally murdered in her apartment. The victim was stabbed, beaten over
the head, and then had a design carved on her face. As Anette and Jeppe
investigate the murder of 21-year-old student Julie
Stender, they interview her landlady,
Esther de Laurenti, a hard drinking retired academic who wants to be a
writer. The investigators are pursuing some of the people associated
with Esther, but also Esther herself, especially when it is revealed
that a description of Julie's murder turns up in the manuscript of
Esther's unfinished crime novel.
Jeppe and Esther are well-developed characters, with other characters
either playing a supportive role or portrayed as somewhat of an enigma.
Engberg establishes the struggles the detectives have working with each
other and the personality clashes they frequently experience. Jeppe is
the more contemplative, cerebral of the two, while Anette is outspoken,
blunt and matter-of-fact. They are definitively opposites, but they do
work well together and complement each other's strengths and weaknesses.
Other detectives in the force are also involved in the case.
The writing is good and the plot moves along swiftly. Since this is a
translation of Engberg's debut novel, any qualms with the writing could
be due to the translation, so I'm not basing a rating on the writing.
There are several false leads in the investigation. Additionally, parts
of the plot require suspending disbelief, while other elements seem
commonplace and familiar elements that are found in many procedurals.
The narrative alternates between characters, with Jeppe and Esther being
the main focus. This is an interesting procedural where nothing is as
My review copy was courtesy of Gallery/Scout Press.