Under the Snow by Kerstin Ekman translator Joan Tate #NovNov22 #NovNov2022

Startling thriller of immense power.

Book blurb

My thoughts

I came across this book a few weeks ago when I was sorting out my book shelves. How fortuitous when I decided to participate in #NovNov22!

This Nordic mystery is an intriguing read straight from the initial phone call made by Henrik Vuori to the police informing them that a man, Matti Olson, had died following an argument with Erik Sjögren.

Constable Torsson gets to Rakisjokh, 65 kilometres away via Orjas with a final leg of 25 kilo on skis. Torsson spends some time finding out what happened, interviewing people and checking out various locations. He believes that he is not getting the full story especially when he finds a mahjong tile with blood on it in the school hall. It doesn’t correspond to what he has been told. Once the group he has been interviewing clam up he’s unable to get any further with his investigation and returns to the police station putting the case to one side.

Months later a friend of Matti Olson, David Malm, meets Anna Ryd, the English teacher and Olsons girlfriend, on his way to visit Olson. He gives her a lift so she can report the accident she had to the police. She tells David that Matti has died.

Torsson is about to go on holiday but is intrigued by Malm who, having found out more about Matti’s death, insists he must have been killed. So back to Rakisjokh he goes with Malm.

This time around the truth will be revealed but not before David, who is a slightly odd but quite likeable character, finds himself in some hot water.

I very much enjoyed this slow to boil murder mystery. The setting was as uncompromising as Torsson’s belief that there was more to what had happened than he could initially find out. The circumstances behind what happened were not entirely unknown or wrong but certain actions were made to lead everyone, not just the police, to a completely different conclusion. Indeed, if it had not been for David Malm coming to visit his friend the truth may never have been uncovered.

Rebecca of Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746Books are co-hosting Novellas in November as a month-long challenge with four weekly prompts.

They will both put up an opening post on 1 November where you can leave your links throughout the month, to be rounded up on the 30th, and they are taking turns introducing a theme each Tuesday.

1 – 7 November: Short Classics (Rebecca

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (read, post coming soon)

15 – 21 November: Short Non-Fiction (Rebecca)

God & Caesar (personal reflections on Politics and Religion) by Shirley Williams (still reading this!).

8 – 14 November: Novellas in Translation (Cathy)

Under the Snow by Kirstin Ekman (Trans. Joan Tate)

22 – 28 November: Contemporary Novellas (Cathy)

Foster by Claire Keegan, which is the Buddy read and posted. \ The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald (posted on 25 Nov)| The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (posted on 26 Nov)

29/30 November: My Month in Novellas/ New to my TBR

(It is suggested that 150–200 pages as the upper limit for a novella, and post-1980 as a definition of “contemporary.”)


Published: Vintage (9 Oct. 1997) |ISBN 978009751618 | 164 pages

Vintage do not list this book, they do list Blackwater by the same author, it is I assume out of print. I have therefore sourced some possibilities below with regard to purchasing and, of course, added the likelihood that your local library may have a copy.


If anyone can’t get hold of Under the Snow I’d be happy to pass my copy along just let me know below in the comments – first come, first served. (U.K. only)

Buy: AmazonSmileUK | Abe Books UK | BetterWorld Books | ThriftBooks.com | Your local library may have a copy


Joan Tate, translator, writer and publisher’s reader, born September 23 1922; died June 6 2000

Joan Tate née Eames (23 September 1922 – 6 June 2000) was a prolific author and translator, translating works by many leading Swedish and Swedish-speaking Finnish writers into English.

Alongside her own fiction and nonfiction writing, Tate’s translations from the Swedish include books by Astrid Lindgren, Ingmar Bergman, Britt Ekland, Kerstin Ekman, P C Jersild, Sven Lindqvist, Agneta Pleijel, and the team of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. She also translated works from Norwegian and Danish, translating a total of around 200 books during her career.| Obituary, The Guardian

Author: Kirsten Ekman

The History of Nordic Women’s Literature – Kirsten Ekman


Blackwater | Under the Snow | The Forest of Hours | The Dog | The Spring | The Women and the Town (series) | The Wolfskin Trilogy

Some are available from AmazonSmileUK | you can also try Abe Books | Thrift Books (links above) | or you may be able to get them from your local library.

2 Comments on “Under the Snow by Kerstin Ekman translator Joan Tate #NovNov22 #NovNov2022

  1. Pingback: #NOVNOV22 Roundup #NOVNOV2022 My Month in Novellas/ New to my TBR – Love Books, Read Books

  2. Pingback: It’s Novellas in November time – add your links here! #NovNov22


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