My future collague, Annika, talked about a crime novel where the murderer is not revealed. I've never been much into crime or detective literature but this got me super excited. Also, I studied crime literature a little while writing my master's thesis and understood that nowadays it's not always the butler who is guilty! Still I find it rather difficult to grab a book I know is a detective story of some kind.
Håkan Nesser's Kim Novak Never Swam in Genesaret's Lake (Kim Novak badade aldrig i Genesarets sjö, 1998) is about a boy, Erik, whose mother is in the hospital dying of cancer. 14-year-old Erik and his 22-year-old brother Henry together with Erik's friend Edmund go to Genesaret, their summer place, to spend their summer. Henry hooks up with Ewa Kaludis, a substitute teacher the young boys had at school and who is engaged to a famous handball player Berra Albertsson. One night Ewa comes to Genesaret all beaten-up and a few days after her fiancé is found dead at the parking area near the house the boys are living in. Henry is arrested and later freed in the lack of evidence.
I read this book in a day, which always is a good sign. (Also, it's my summer holiday so I've got nothing else to do...) What I really liked was that this book wasn't actually about the murder and who did it - the murder took place in the middle of the book and was present for the rest of it but wasn't the main issue. It was more about the boys, summer, growing up and falling in love. The love affairs actually surprised me, which is rather unusual. I also liked the point of view of the 14-year-old, the details in narration, and especially the game between Erik and Edmund to only talk with two word sentences.
The title of this text is actually misleading: I do recommend this book, even to those who - like me - aren't normally into detective fiction. If you can't stand the fact that you'll never find out the murderer, well, you lose the chance to read a good book - if you enjoy the possibility to make your own mind and maybe find some tiny hints to support your theory, go ahead. Nesser actually did write a book called Sanningen i fallet Bertil Albertsson? (link only in Swedish) ten years after the original novel to reveal the murderer, but it seems that the question mark in the end of the title is the most honest revelation Nesser is willing to give.
I think that a scale from 1 to 5 is never enough. That's why I give the book 4/7.
Nesser, Håkan 1998/ 2005: Kim Novak ei uinut genesaretin järvessä. Suom. Saara Villa. Helsinki: Tammi.