One morning in the autumn of 1793, watchman Mikel Cardell is awakened from his drunken slumber with reports of a body seen floating in the Larder, once a pristine lake on Stockholm’s Southern Isle, now a rancid bog. Efforts to identify the bizarrely mutilated corpse are entrusted to incorruptible lawyer Cecil Winge, who enlists Cardell’s help to solve the case.
It’s early to be pegging the year’s best books, but The Wolf and the Watchman,”Niklas Natt och Dag’s stunning debut, is sure to be one of them ... Natt och Dag brings a reporter’s eye for detail to this feverishly dark historical thriller ... The Wolf and the Watchman is exceedingly grim and often grisly, but, in the elegant translation by Ebba Segerberg, it’s never lurid ... The Wolf and the Watchman is a cerebral, immersive page-turner whose detective is a rationalist trapped in a world ruled by superstition, fear, and men whose humanity has been debased and erased as surely as Karl Johan’s ... The last 50 pages provide plenty of twists to satisfy thrill-starved readers, but it’s the final haunting sentence that raises gooseflesh and leaves one reaching to turn up the light.
What's better than an ornate period piece with style to spare? One that includes a murder mystery. Oh, and boy is it a riveting mystery ... One of the great feats of The Wolf and the Watchman is the painstaking description of this decadent world and the many careful political details which are embroidered along the page ... Unlike other books which may be set in the past, but where the characters act like modern people, everyone in The Wolf and the Watchman feels like they belong in this era of wigs and spies, chamber pots and dung caking the streets ... A bit of Patrick Süskind's The Perfume and a bit of Sherlock Holmes, this wolf has some bite to it.
Already a prize-winning bestseller in Sweden, the grisly but moral literary page-turner is set to be published in 31 countries ... Even for its author, the book resists categorisation ... no more a straightforward detective novel than Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, one of Natt och Dag’s favourite tales ... the latest novel to offer the rich mix of a heightened historical background and the core mechanisms of a mystery story.