Patrik is already investigating a death. He is back at work after being on sick leave for three months. In the end, he didn’t have a heart attack but a vascular spasm. Yet, Erica and his mother Kristina think he has to take it easy.
The dead man is Matte Sverin, who is the accountant in the council and was working in the renovation of the hotel with Ering Larson. His parents are Gunner and Signe Sverin, two humble citizens. Signe was always worried about her son because he was her only son and she was a bit too possessive. Matte lived in Goteborg for years, but he returned to Fjallbacka after he was attacked by a gang. Yet, he claimed that he had returned to the village to escape from the rat race city.
The Sverins have always been friends with Nathalie. Actually, they look after the house while she or her parents weren’t away. We also learn that Nathalie and Matte were a couple when they were younger. Yet, something happened and Matte left her. Then she married Fredrik, who was charming at first, but then Nathalie got to know how cruel her husband was, beating her and Sam. I think that Sam is traumatized because of something that happened with his father or something that his father had done to him. In Nathalie’s musings we learn that Fredrik was jealous of the attention she paid to their son, so he must have abused him.
When Matte hears that Nathalie is on the island, he decides to visit her. Nathalie feels awakward around him at first, but little by little the atmosphere thaws, and they eventually end up in bed together. The following morning she wakes up to an empty bed. Matte is gone, and then when Nathalie checks her drawers where she keeps her money, everything is gone, and she realises why Matte left so early. Why did Matte have to steal her money? I can’t understand why he would do something like that.
In the project to renovate the hotel, Matte seemed to have been happy, but we know through Erling Larson that he had found some inaccuracies, and wanted to talk to Anders, who as far as I know, is another investor. Anders is the brother of Vivienne, who Erling believes is in love with him. Yet, we know that Vivienne hates to be with him, and every night in the last week she has spiked his drink with sleeping pill so that she doesn’t have to sleep with him. So then why is she in a relationship with him? Is it because of the money? Erling thinks that Matte talked to Anders about those inaccuracies, but Anders says that after they talked, everything was all right.
So there are different people who might have wanted Matte dead: those who attacked him in Goteborg, Anders and Vivienne, and even Nathalie. I think it is early to make hypotheses.
Apart from that, there are some chapters set in Fjallbacka in 1870. In these chapters the main character is Emelie, who gets to marry Karl. It was a surprise for her when Karl proposed to her because even though she had been in love with him for long, she always thought that he was out of her league. They move to the island where Nathalie has the house. They are alone there with Julian, some kind of caretaker. The problem for Emelie is that it has been months she and Karl got married, but he hasn’t touched her yet. Also, she feels awkward around Julian because he keeps looking at her in a way that unsettles her. I imagine that the story of these people in 1870 must be linked with the events in present Fjallbacka and the murder, but I can’t think how.
As for the personal matters in the novel, right now what takes central stage is the way Anna feels after the death of her baby. She won’t let anybody comfort her, not even Dan. Erica feels a mixture of guilt and relief because she survived the crash and now she has two healthy sons. So she doesn’t know how to approach her sister, and what saddens her is that after all they had gone through, she and Anna seemed to go along lately. Yet, now that his has happened, they are back to square one. Patrik thinks that Erica should let Anna have her space, and she should welcome Erica in her world in her own time.