Review: Mons Kallentoft – The Fifth Season

Mons Kallentoft’s series, featuring detective Malin Fors, is now on its fifth book and is aptly titled The Fifth Season. Kallentoft’s earlier novels featured The Fifth Seasonsingle investigations that were concluded at the end of the books. However, one case has hovered uncertainly in the background throughout the series. The brutal rape of Maria Murvall was first touched up in Midwinter Sacrifice and the police’s failure to solve the crime haunts Malin Fors throughout each subsequent book. In The Fifth Season the case is finally solved.

The body of a mutilated young girl is found in the woods outside Linköping. The method of her killing reminds Inspector Malin Fors of Maria, who is still traumatised and unable to speak following her rape years earlier. When a third attack is identified with similarities to the others, Malin pushes for the cases to be investigated together to discover the perpetrator. But their investigation takes them to the top of Swedish society, and men who are at pains to conceal their role in the crimes.

This is a solid series by Kallentoft that always makes interesting reading. It’s improved considerably since Malin has given up alcohol and the narrative is less concerned with her battles with drink. It’s also good to have the Maria Murvall narrative concluded. It’s been a disturbing case for the reader too and I think has been brought to a conclusion at exactly the right time in the series.

Many of the motifs that we associate with Kallentoft are present in The Fifth Season. The present tense narrative, the voices from the murder victim and the focus on the personal as well as the professional life of Malin. The book could have had an ‘end of era’ feel to it and it’s a credit to the character construction and plotting that this isn’t the case. Instead we get a well-crafted murder story that once more shows the violence done to women.

I know the sixth book is currently in translation which is good news as there’s plenty of mileage left in this series.

Thanks to Hodder for my copy. The translation was by Neil Smith.

9 thoughts on “Review: Mons Kallentoft – The Fifth Season

  1. I’ve seen this series and debated about giving it a bash. I really think I’d enjoy it. The only problem is…the interminable stacks! Although hopefully now most of the unpacking is done since we moved I can get stuck back into some reading and reviewing. May just treat myself to this (don’t tell the other half though…I’m on a book buying blackout….!)


    1. I didn’t realise you’d just moved. I’ve moved loads of times in my life and I know exactly about how difficult it is to move books. Good luck.


  2. Margot Kinberg

    Sarah – An excellent review as ever. And I’m glad the series has gotten stronger (I admit I’m not as far along in it as this one). I’m glad the Murvall case is resolved too. I think story arcs can go on for too long if they’re not done skillfully.


    1. The problem with story arcs is how much to include for the reader not reading the first book and who’s not familiar with the back story – it’s a real skill, to know what to leave in and what to omit.


  3. After all this time, I still haven’t picked up one of Kallentoft’s books. I will put him on my booksale list, although I haven’t been too lucky with Scandinavian authors in recent book sales. You never know what will turn up. Anyway, I am behind on a lot of Scandinavian series. This one sounds good, and the entire series sounds good. Hope I get to it someday.


  4. Pingback: Interview, Reviews, and What-Not | Scandinavian Crime Fiction

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