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Death of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbøl

Death of a Nightingale

by Lene Kaaberbøl, Agnete Friis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Nina Borg (3)

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2001490,691 (3.74)20
Protecting the young daughter of an illegal immigrant who has escaped police custody in the aftermath of a brutal murder, Danish Red Cross nurse Nina Borg struggles with a belief in the woman's innocence as she learns more about her violent past.



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English (13)  Danish (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
This one was not nearly as good as the first two books in this series, for three reasons.

First, while the story is part of the Nina Borg series, and she's a character in this book, she really had no part of the plot. She's in many scenes, but surprisingly, Nina Borg really did nothing to move the story along. This book could have been written without her and it still would have worked as well as it did.

Second, the Nina Borg character didn't seem like herself, she was "out of character" with several traits that weren't ever mentioned in the first two books. For example, in this one, she's overly obsessed with time and clock-watching. OCD tendencies also make a dramatic appearance, which also weren't apparent in books 1 and 2. It was very distracting and disappointing.

Thirdly, the back-story took over the book, leaving the main plot by the wayside. The authors use back-stories to great effect in the first two books, but I think they lost sight of the main plot here, and the book suffered for it.

On to the next book! ( )
  ssimon2000 | May 7, 2018 |
This is the third Nina Borg mystery I have read or listened to and they are way entertaining. I think what I like best is that there are so many female characters - as suspects, perpetrators, witnesses, and crime solvers.

Really fun series. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Natasha,a young Ukrainian refugee in Denmark, will do anything to save her kidnapped daughter. But why was her daughter a target in the first place? The authorities suspect Natasha of killing two men, but she's got an ally in Red Cross nurse Nina Borg.

Frequent flashbacks to the story of two sisters and their sufferings under Stalin in 1930s Ukraine let the reader know that the events of the two time periods must be linked... but we don't discover how until well into the book.

There's a mystery here, but I'd classify the book as 'crime fiction' rather than mystery, because not much investigating really happens. Rather than a character finding things out, the vital information is doled out in small bits by the authors... which makes the tension feel a bit artificial.

I'd also have liked to know more about Nina Borg, right off the bat - I know there are two previous novels featuring her, which I haven't read - perhaps reading them first would have solved this issue! As it was, however, her character seemed a bit underdeveloped and extraneous to the story.

Still, not bad.

I received this book as a giveaway from Goodreads FIRST READS. Thank you Goodreads!

(PS - as with, it seems, most Scandinavian fiction, this book does indeed, if briefly, mention Ikea.) ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
As with its two predecessors, DEATH OF A NIGHTINGALE once again takes readers into the world of some of Europe’s most marginalised and damaged souls. In this instance focus is on a Ukrainian woman, Natasha Doroshenko, who has been convicted in Denmark of the attempted murder of her fiancé. As the novel opens she escapes police custody and begins the dangerous task of being reunited with her young daughter, Katerina. The girl, a chronic asthmatic, is housed at a nearby refuge under the watchful care of nurse Nina Borg. When there is a murder almost immediately following Natasha’s escape police suspect her and step up their efforts to recapture her but she is also being hunted by people connected to her past. One of whom Natasha only knows as The Witch.

In a way there are three stories being played out across this novel and at times this does become confusing. In addition to the present-day tribulations of Natasha we are introduced early on to a pair of sisters living in Stalinist Russia in the 1930’s. As you might expect this thread does eventually connect with Natasha’s story but not before reminding us all that ‘Uncle’ Stalin’s world was a bloody bleak one. The third narrative element is learning about Natasha’s past which allows us to get some sense of what has led to the development of the fiercely protective and necessarily resourceful mother we meet. I’m not entirely convinced the rapid swapping between time periods and perspectives was the best way to tell this story and there seems to be an unwillingness to allow the natural drama of the events being depicted to carry the story so some implausible and unnecessary plot elements exist.

With character development the authors are on surer ground. Nina Borg can be extremely frustrating but over the course of the three books in the series (so far) they have provided ample insight into why she is the sort of person you want on your side in a crisis even if she might not be the woman you’d want as your own mother. Nina needs to save others with the force of an addiction. And, like addicts, she often can’t put a halt to her behaviour even when she can acknowledge the harm it’s causing to her personal relationships. This makes her an unusual and complex person and compelling to read about. Continuing their tradition of depicting strong, if damaged, female characters Natasha Doroshenko also proves captivating.

It is partly through Natasha, though there are others including a Ukrainian policeman working alongside the Danish police to track her down, that the authors continue one of the themes woven into all of their novels: an exploration of the complicated political and social environment that has developed in Europe since the collapse of the Soviet Union. From my little vantage point at the bottom of the world news headlines from the region often seem incomprehensible but Kaaberbøl and Friis do an excellent job of teasing out the complexities that lie behind such headlines in a way that offers explanation if not justification. To me, for example, it seems preposterous that something one’s grandparents did or didn’t do can have any baring on events happening today but this book shows in a very believable way that in some cultures what happened two generations or more ago is as important as what occurred yesterday.

For me the plot of DEATH OF A NIGHTINGALE is a little too manipulated to be entirely credible and there’s some unnecessary confusion but this criticism pales into insignificance when stacked up against the fascinating social context and engaging character development. For those who read crime fiction – or any fiction really – to gain some new perspective on the infinitely complicated world in which we all live I highly recommend this book.
  bsquaredinoz | Feb 21, 2015 |
Last year, I read “The Boy in the Suitcase” and I remember feeling an almost constant sense of tension as I read. From the first few words, I could practically hear the clock ticking, the pressure building. There was a tightly wound sense of panic running through that book as the events progressed and it certainly kept me engaged.

I wouldn’t say the same is exactly true of “Death of a Nightingale” – but there is a similar underlying tension. The events taking place during the sections set in the present happen quickly and with a sense of extreme urgency. The interesting thing, for me, was that as vivid and horrible as some of the characters experiences are – the emotion, the passion behind the actions is slightly muffled. It’s difficult to describe – but there is a feel to both books that was different than most fillers in that the characters seem to transfer their most extreme feelings to the reader without doing so overtly. The stress/worry/terror they are feeling is clearly delivered to the reader in an incredibly subtle way.

One of the characters has a horrific accident with an axe, and instead of a gory, over the top description – the reader finds out with, “Then came the roar.” Which I think was more effective and delivers a much stronger impact.

This is a story about the past catching up with the future. Of long held love and hate. Of the incredibly strong and impossibly complicated relationships humans have with their families. Of how much one can endure in order to make things right.

“Sometimes when you have to do a really hard thing, you can’t let yourselves think. No looking down and discovering how deep the drop is beneath your feet, and no looking ahead either. You balance on a wire, and it can be ten or a hundred meters long. It doesn’t matter, because you can’t run anyway, and you can’t jump the last bit to make it across the abyss. You can’t cheat. All you can do is place one foot in front of the other. One step at a time.”

“Death of a Nightingale” was a quietly powerful book that kept me turning the pages with an urgent need to find out what would happen next – and what had happened before. ( )
  karieh | Jan 18, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kaaberbøl, Leneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Friis, Agnetemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Dyssegaard, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Audio File #83: Nightingale
"Go on," says a man's voice.
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