Carmen and Nicolai failed to resuscitate their son, Tommy, after finding him floating in their backyard pond. When Inspector Skarre arrives on the scene, Carmen reports that Tommy, a healthy toddler with Down syndrome, wandered into the garden while Nicolai was working in the basement and she was cleaning the house. Skarre senses something is off with Carmen’s story and consults his trusted colleague, the famed Inspector Sejer. An autopsy reveals Tommy’s lungs to be full of soap.
When Sejer and Skarre revisit the couple, Carmen, an epileptic, changes her story, confessing that she’d been knocked unconscious by a seizure while bathing Tommy. When she came to, she found him drowned in the tub and, horrified and frightened, threw him into the pond.
But Skarre and Sejer’s doubt is not appeased and the case is reopened. What more could Carmen be hiding? And what lengths will she take to cover her guilt? As Carmen’s own family starts to doubt her, Skarre and Sejer work to find the truth.
Regina on Goodreads wrote:
As a longtime admirer of Karin Fossum and her Inspector Sejer detective novels, I found ,myself disappointed at the eleventh entry in the series. In the most minimalist of all her books, a young child suffering from Downs Syndrome drowns, and what appears a horrible accident provokes the suspicions, first, of Jacob Scarre, and eventually of Sejer himself. This seems the making of a classic Fossum mystery, bur surprisingly there is a flatness and predictability to the novel, in sharp contrast to the psychological complexity and richness of the earlier books. One of the reasons for these changes is age itself. Not only is Sejer suffering from inexplicable dizzy spells, causing him to brood on his own mortality (in fact the book is filled with a variety of illnesses and afflictions), but Scarre is now a gifted investigator in his own right, and thus the former bantering and philosophical interplay of the two men has become more staid and and institutionally defined. Having worked together for so many years, they have become legendary for their integrity and investigative abilities, but a certain nuance and vitality has been lost. I clearly have the sense that Fossum has begun to recycle old material (her second novel also featured Downs Syndrome, the death of a young child, and a mysterious drowning) and she has brought back the emphasis from the earlier books on Sejer's lonely obsession with his deceased wife. In several later novels she had shifted this emphasis by introducing a sensual and intelligent and provocative girl friend, who challenges Sejer and exposes some of his emotional shortcomings, but now he once again he is alone with his dog, though a new dog now, and endless meditations on his beautiful wife and their life together. It's worth noting here that many of the most iconic Scandi mystery writers have concluded the franchise after ten novels. As the old saying goes, all good things must end. And sadly Sejer's best days seem behind him now. But it's been a marvelous series. And Fossum one of the best Nordic writers in this genre.
3.5 Stars Okay, straight up, the drowned 16month old child has Down Syndrome (that’s not a spoiler), and I have a child with a developmental disability. There was stuff or rather, characters in The Drowned Boy that made my blood boil.
However, I still really enjoyed The Drowned Boy. Yes, Fossum has such skill that I still enjoyed reading her latest offering despite my blood boiling throughout it.
Why not a higher rating? I thought the very end was weak.
Thankyou to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read and review.
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