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More Bitter than Death by Camilla Grebe
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More Bitter than Death

by Camilla Grebe, Åsa Träff (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Siri Bergman (2)

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English (6)  Swedish (2)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (10)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This book shows a different side of a murder mystery. You get a psychologist perspective rather than a detective's viewpoint. Siri Bergman is annoying at times and her decisions are not what you would expect from a psychologist. She has a drinking problem and has not gotten over the death of her husband. The book does show how people cope with grief and loss through Siri's character. She does, however, hold a self-help group for women of abuse and it is very informative. The book starts out with five year old Tilda hiding under a kitchen table when a man enters and beats her mother to death. Siri gets involved with trying to find the murderer and does become a victim herself. After the murder in the beginning of the story, the plot slowed down. It got more suspenseful towards the middle and I would not consider this a fast-paced story but it is still worth reading. I do enjoy the Swedish atmosphere and some of the characters. The ending had a chilling twist and really caught me off-guard. I look forward to reading the next in the series but it hasn't been translated yet. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 24, 2018 |
The second novel in the Siri Bergman series, MORE BITTER THAN DEATH, suffered a little from this reader having missed the first book - SOME KIND OF PEACE. It left such a sense of missing out for this reader, that SOME KIND OF PEACE was slotted into the teetering pile of books to be read.

A big part of the reason for that reaction is that Siri Bergman is a tricky character to come to grips with part-way through her story. Not to say that she's not particularly intriguing, strong and fascinating, there just always felt like something about her was cloudy / didn't quite add up.

Particularly when you combine her with friend, and colleague Aina and classmate Vijay all collaborating on a domestic abuse study, making for a slight disconnection between character connection and plot acceptance. Particularly as this plot scenario allows the authors to discuss a wide range of manifestations of abuse, as well as victim reactions and coping strategies in a very elegant manner.

Once one of the abuse cases turns deadly, there's further opportunity to look closely at the attitudes towards, and roles of victims in these abusive relationships. Never once does any of this tip over into self-righteousness or overtly "positioned". Rather it remains an exploration, a consideration for want of a better term. It's a very successful way of handling particularly challenging subject matter with sensitivity, without shying away from the fundamental questions that need to be answered.

The fact that this subject is handled in this manner, within a plot that's multi-levelled, that involves the members of the self-help trial group, and the facilitators equally is cleverly done, and it's seamlessly delivered. Often when you're reading something that comes from an author collaboration, you can see hints of the stitching, or different hands. There's none of that here - nothing jars in terms of pace, delivery or credibility.

https://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/review-more-bitter-death-camilla-grebe-a... ( )
  austcrimefiction | Feb 28, 2017 |
I haven't read the first book but this seemed interesting. More Bitter Than Death is a murder mystery set in Sweden. Tilda was five years old when her mother was beaten to death. She was hiding under under the table coloring. She never seen the persons face who killed her mother. Siri the therapist she she's also has a dark past. The story is basically about domestic abuse and its very informative in that area. All in all a great mystery read. I look forward to reading more books by this author. ( )
  Hanneri | Jun 14, 2015 |
This is a favorite of mine, it kept me guessing to the last page! I wasn't familiar with this author but wow, she knows how to write a mystery! Five year old Tilde watches as her mother is beaten to death though she can't see the face of the murderer. The therapist she sees also has a dark past.

There's a lot of focus on domestic abuse and it's very informative in that area. The author has done her research. If you enjoy a good mystery you'll enjoy this one! Well written, not as fast paced as I like them but it wasn't too slow either. An enjoyable read! ( )
  JoyAnne | Jul 13, 2013 |
This is the second in the Swedish crime series featuring psychotherapist Siri Bergman and her best friend and colleague Aina Davidsson.

In this book, Siri and Aina along with their old classmate Vijay collaborate on a domestic abuse study. Siri and Aina are to run a trial self-help group that would be led by professional facilitators. This set-up allows the authors to describe, as part of the narrative, the various manifestations of abuse of women, what it feels like to them, and how they cope (or not) with it during and after it happens. Furthermore, this plot device allows them to speculate on the motivations for such abuse. Is it solely about power and control? Does any of it have to do with love, albeit in a twisted form? What about the role of women? Are they ever complicit, in terms of “asking for it”? How do you determine who is telling the truth in relationship conflicts?

When one of the cases turns deadly, there is a great deal of pressure to find the answers, because the perpetrator remains at large.

Parallel developments in the private lives of the protagonists who work on these cases (not only Siri and Aina but also their colleagues Vijay and Sven), complicate the investigation, because they too are asking questions about the nature of love, and whether the pain it can create is worth the risk.

This is not just a sociological thriller however; it is also very much a psychological thriller, with an increase in tension that doesn’t let up until the very astonishing ending.

Discussion: The authors do an excellent job. I’ve read other Scandinavian crime novels that embrace the topic of domestic violence, but these authors are better in two ways. One, they focus their descriptions on the feelings elicited by what happened rather than the salacious details, which make unpleasant reading in any event. Secondly, they are never didactic, but seamlessly integrate their concerns into the plot.

Evaluation: This series is better than much of the crime fiction coming out of Scandinavia lately. I love being gobsmacked by a crime novel, and this one does not dissapoint me.

I am especially impressed that it is a collaboration of two authors. The writing is always consistent; I would have never known! (Sisters Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff apparently write these books via email, each writing a chapter and sending it back to the other to continue the story. It should also be noted that Åsa Träff is a psychologist specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy.)

Moreover, unlike much crime fiction, this series would work great for book clubs. Many issues are raised about the nature of crime and punishment, the situation of women, and the nature of love and relationships that will evoke good discussions (as in fact it did for me and my husband while I was reading it!) ( )
  nbmars | Jul 10, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Camilla Grebeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Träff, ÅsaAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Chace, TaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuentecilla, EricCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I find something more bitter than death:
the woman who is a net,
whose heart is like a snare,
and whose hands are fetters.
He who pleases God will escape her,
but the sinner she will ensnare.

--Ecclesiastes 7:26
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For Max, Gustav, Calle, and Josephine
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Everything looks different from below.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A follow-up to Some Kind of Peace finds psychologist Siri Bergman organizing a support group for victims of domestic abuse against a backdrop of a brutal beating murder for which the only witness is a traumatized 5-year-old girl.

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