Hospitals are supposed to be places of healing. But in the coronary care unit at one of Copenhagen's leading medical centers, a nurse fills a syringe with an overdose of heart medication and stealthily enters the room of an older male patient.
Six days earlier, a paperboy on his route in central Copenhagen stumbles upon a macabre find: the naked body of a dead woman, lying in a fountain with arms marked with small incisions. Cause of death? Exsanguination--the draining of all the blood in her body.
Clearly, this is no ordinary murder. Lead Investigator Jeppe Kørner, recovering from a painful divorce and in the throes of a new relationship, takes on the investigation. As the investigation ventures into dark corners, it uncovers the ambition and greed that festers beneath the surface of caregiving institutions--all the more shocking for their depravity--and what Jeppe and Anette discover will turn their blood as cold as ice....
It seems that Scandinavian mystery novels have not been appearing quite as quickly in the United States as they once did, which makes us appreciate all the more the ones that do show up. Thus we herald the appearance of Katrine Engberg’s The Butterfly House, which is ably translated by Tara Chase ... The most impressive element of the book is the mystery that forms its red-hot core. There truly is no logical way of discerning whodunit prior to the big reveal that occurs near the end, after which a number of the subplots that have developed along the way are satisfactorily wrapped up ... it is my fervent wish that Katrine Engberg continues to write and never stops.
... Kørner and Werner are back in The Butterfly House, the second installment in Engberg’s crime fiction series—and what a fantastic installment it is. There’s something particularly exciting as a reader about following an up-and-coming author’s career and seeing their growth and development, and The Butterfly House is proof positive that Katrine Engberg is on an upward trajectory. While I enjoyed her debut novel The Tenant, I loved The Butterfly House, and would highly recommend this engaging, inventive Danish crime novel for fans of Nordic Noir and police procedurals ... The Butterfly House is an engaging, fresh take on Nordic Noir, a procedural brimming with personality, eccentric characters, and plenty of mystery and intrigue ... consider Katrine Engberg’s The Butterfly House the perfect book with which to get your armchair sleuthing fix and your armchair traveling fix, all in one gripping package.
I cannot even begin to tell you how relatable Anette’s boredom was to me as a mother ... Ms. Engberg’s portrayal of this was refreshing, even as she and I are both advocates for flexible parental leave that centers on the needs of the family. Ms. Engberg also writes with compassion of the people doing their best to navigate an imperfect health and social system ... I really enjoyed reading this layered tale of killers and victims, all hiding behind the masks society has handed them to wear. Jeppe and Anette are wonderful protagonists: smart, flawed, and relatable all at once. The subplot with the aging author Esther de Laurenti was also really well done, particularly in the epiphany she had regarding Alain at the end. Overall, The Butterfly House, translated from the original Danish by Tara Chace, is a terrific addition to the Scandinavian noir genre and one not to be missed by genre fans.