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The Whisperer (13) (Inspector Sejer…

The Whisperer (13) (Inspector Sejer Mysteries) (original 2016; edition 2019)

by Karin Fossum (Author), Kari Dickson (Translator)

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857219,047 (3.4)1
Inspector Sejer returns in a stunning, psychologically acute new thriller from the Queen of Norwegian crime fiction. Ragna Riegel works in a supermarket and still lives in her childhood home. She's alone in the world since her only son moved to Berlin. She longs for a Christmas or birthday card from him. Ragna lives her life within strict self-imposed limits- she sits in the same seat on the bus every day, on her way to her predictable job. On her way home she always visits the same local shop. She feels safe in her routine, until one day she receives a letter with a threatening message scrawled in capital letters. An unknown enemy has entered her world and she must use all her means to defend herself. When the worst happens, Inspector Konrad Sejer is called in to interrogate Ragna. Is this unassuming woman out of her depth, or is she hiding a dark secret? PRAISE FOR THE WHISPERER- 'It is her ability to make average, often wounded human psyches crackle and glow in all the colours of the rainbow that is Fossum's forte as a writer. She has an exceptional eye for fragility and vulnerability, and the complexity and dark humour of these states of mind.' AFTENPOSTEN 'Hviskeren contains all of the elements that make Fossum one of Norway's foremost crime authors- Deep psychological insight ... Creepy, unnerving discomfort and plausible madness in everyday life... The unthinkable lingers and quivers within the text, creating suspense as the story builds towards the shocking reveal.' VG… (more)
Title:The Whisperer (13) (Inspector Sejer Mysteries)
Authors:Karin Fossum (Author)
Other authors:Kari Dickson (Translator)
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2019), Edition: Reprint, Translation, 336 pages
Collections:Read, not owned
Tags:psychlogical fiction, Scandinavia

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The Whisperer by Karin Fossum (2016)



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
The structure of this book is interesting--each chapter alternates between the past and present to tell the story of a random and horrible crime--but the plot, pacing, and characters are uninspired. Not recommended. ( )
  librarianarpita | Dec 27, 2019 |
The Whisperer by "Norwegian Queen of Crime" Karin Fossum is a Scandinavian mystery where the crime is only divulged towards the end of the book. This is the thirteenth Inspector Sejer novel but this title reads well as a standalone. The book alternates between Ragna Riegel's daily life and the later interrogation of Ragna by Inspector Sejer about the crime she committed. Ragna, a middle-aged single mother, has a precise life. She lives alone, after her teenage son moved to Berlin. She lives in the home she grew up in, previously with her parents. She works in a store, commutes by bus where she always sits in the same seat and shops for her supper in the same shop every day. One day, she finds a threatening anonymous note in her mailbox, leading her to believe her life is in danger. Over time, more notes appear and Ragna's fear grows. Meanwhile, every other chapter has Inspector Sejer interviewing Ragna. The reader is kept in the dark as to why Ragna is being detained by the police and what crime she committed. This Scandinavian mystery is typically very dark but you will need to find out the hows and whys of this woman's life, no matter what.. Highly recommended. Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  carole888fort | Sep 4, 2019 |
Ragna Riegel is a forty-six-year-old Norwegian woman who seems to be deteriorating mentally. She lives alone in her late parents' home, works as a shop assistant, and sleeps erratically. When she nods off, her dreams are disjointed and disturbing. Adding to her woes, a bungled medical procedure damaged her vocal cords and left her neck badly scarred. As a result of the operation, she cannot speak above a whisper. Ragna conveys her worries, hopes, and fears in Karin Fossum's latest novel, "The Whisperer," translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.

The heroine has little joy in her life. She is plain, has never married, and has no close friends. Ragna's grown son, Rikard Josef, left home at seventeen, lives in Berlin, and occasionally sends his mother a greeting card. Ragna has not spoken to him or seen him in years. Among other issues, Riegel has a compulsive streak—counting steps, needing to sit in particular seat on the bus, frequenting the same local store—and she fantasizes so much that she sometimes has difficulty separating fact from fiction. Ragna is alarmed when she receives a series of letter in her mailbox that indicate a stalker may be out to get her. She alternates between cowering in fear and resolving to confront her would-be attacker. Everything comes to a head when Ragna is arrested for an unspecified crime. Inspector Sejer, a recurring character in Fossum's novels, interviews the prisoner at length. He questions her and listens to her answers with patience and empathy. She opens up to this gentle and compassionate man whom she comes to look upon as therapist and father confessor. Sejer gradually helps Ragna remove the blinders from her eyes.

The action moves back and forth in time; we gradually discover the truth about Ragna's sad backstory and the events that led to her incarceration. "The Whisperer" is a compelling psychological study of a disturbed individual who has little to lose. All she really wants is a connection with her son, whom she still loves. We cannot help but sympathize with the tormented Ragna, but "The Whisperer" offers few rewards from a literary standpoint. It is talky, too long, repetitious, and the insubstantial plot takes a back seat to Ragna's illusions and bizarre whims. The final straw is that we are left scratching our heads in confusion concerning several points that are never fully explained. The last page is annoyingly ambiguous and fails to provide much-needed closure. To quote Inspector Sejer, "Very few questions had clear answers, and as for the truth, well, it could be stretched like a rubber band." ( )
  booklover915 | Aug 1, 2019 |
Karin Fossum's The Whisperer is a fantastic character study that allows Inspector Sejer to do what he does best: listen. Ragna Riegel is a tough nut to crack, but the presence of Sejer's dog, Frank, helps lower some of the woman's defenses as the book alternates between the voices of Ragna and the inspector.

It's really not crystal clear through most of the book exactly why Ragna is in jail, and while these two characters talk, the reader is asking himself questions. What did she do? Prison for life? Murder? Could she really kill anyone? The more I read, the more I felt as though I were falling down the rabbit hole with Ragna, and I think a little of her paranoia rubbed off on me, which is a mark of some excellent storytelling.

The only thing I have to complain about is that the story drags badly at about the half- to the three-quarters mark. The lag time may not bother anyone else and that's fine, but if you're the type of reader who likes everything to be resolved by book's end, you're probably not going to like The Whisperer because it has a twist at the very end that sends your mind off to the races again-- and you're left wondering. You're left with questions, not closure.

I loved that twist at the end. In fact, I think I was expecting it. Karin Fossum had me thinking about the madness that can be found in everyday life, and she reminded me to question assumptions-- and that is a valuable reminder. ( )
  cathyskye | Jul 29, 2019 |
I don't know what I think. It was a little weird, a little strange, but at the same time I had to read the whole story, I could not put it down until I had read the full story. I feel the story was completely different than the rest of the books of Fossum, I wanted to know more about Sejer and the rest of the people around.
And the ending.. Should known more! ( )
  henriette89 | Apr 21, 2018 |
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Mooi was ze niet en dat wist ze zelf ook wel, ze liep zoals alle schuchtere vrouwen doen, voorzichtig voortstappend met een verontschuldigende blik in de ogen.
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