“The Alienist set in eighteenth-century Stockholm: Brawny, bloody, intricate, enthralling—and the best historical thriller I’ve read in twenty years.” —A.J. Finn, #1 bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
“Thrilling, unnerving, clever, and beautiful.” —Fredrik Backman, #1 bestselling author of A Man Called Ove
“Chilling and thought-provoking. Relentless, well-written, and nearly impossible to put down.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
One morning in the autumn of 1793, watchman Mikel Cardell is awakened from his drunken slumber with reports of a body seen floating in the Larder, once a pristine lake on Stockholm’s Southern Isle, now a rancid bog. Efforts to identify the bizarrely mutilated corpse are entrusted to incorruptible lawyer Cecil Winge, who enlists Cardell’s help to solve the case. But time is short: Winge’s health is failing, the monarchy is in shambles, and whispered conspiracies and paranoia abound.
Winge and Cardell become immersed in a brutal world of guttersnipes and thieves, mercenaries and madams. From a farmer’s son who is lead down a treacherous path when he seeks his fortune in the capital to an orphan girl consigned to the workhouse by a pitiless parish priest, their investigation peels back layer upon layer of the city’s labyrinthine society. The rich and the poor, the pious and the fallen, the living and the dead—all collide and interconnect with the body pulled from the lake.
Breathtakingly bold and intricately constructed, The Wolf and the Watchman brings to life the crowded streets, gilded palaces, and dark corners of late-eighteenth-century Stockholm, offering a startling vision of the crimes we commit in the name of justice, and the sacrifices we make in order to survive.
The discovery of a torso in a lake outside Stockholm drives Natt och Dag's masterly first novel, set in 1793. The human remains prove to belong to a man whose limbs were severed one at a time over several months. Identifying the victim and his killer falls to Cecil Winge, an idealistic attorney who assists the police. Winge enlists the aid of Mickel Cardell, a veteran of a fruitless war with Russia in which he lost an arm. Now working as a watchman, Mickel retrieved the cadaver from the water. The pair have few clues to work with, but a piece of fabric with unusual markings wrapped around the body leads them to the Eumenides, an ostensibly charitable upper-class organization that meets in a building that houses a bordello. The book's structure, which includes flashbacks and multiple perspectives, will remind many of Iain Pears's An Instance of the Fingerpost, and Natt och Dag uses this structure to heighten suspense and deepen characterizations. The Swedish Academy of Crime Writers named this the best debut novel of 2017, and U.S. readers will be likewise impressed.
Had some unexpected turns which I enjoyed
The wolf and the watchman
Just took a little too long to bring all the pieces together... good story though!