“The Tenant” by Katrine Engberg raises attention-grabbing questions. What are the implications when an author’s work-in-process becomes an actual murder? Of all the crime novels in the world, why that one? Is the writer the culprit or is it someone who read the manuscript? A body of a young woman is found in a Copenhagen apartment, and the owner of the house, Esther de Laurenti, a writer working on a murder mystery, is incredulous; “No one dies in my building.” However, someone did.
Engberg’s detailed descriptions make the characters and settings familiar, alive, functional, and relatable. The focus of the investigation is the sensational crime, the murder of the tenant, but the heart of story is the people surrounding the horrible crime. Every point of view is given, every emotion described, every possibility explored.
The investigation is guided by Investigative Lead Jeppe Kørner and Detective Anette Werner. The pace is steady with the entire investigation taking just over one week; chapters are noted with the date. The investigation is conducted in a systematic, detailed manner with professionals in various fields rotating in and out of the story. The police uncover lots of information, some of it vital, some of it tangential, and some unrelated. Other bodies keep turning up, and multiple people claim responsibility for the same deaths. Clues point in a thousand different directions, and unusual revelations complicate an already complicated case.
“The Tenant” is filled with oddly shaped puzzle pieces that do not seem to fit anywhere, until the startling ending. I received a review copy of “The Tenant” from Katrine Engberg, Gallery, Pocket Books, and Scout Press. Engberg created a complicated story and yet paid meticulous attention to details, thus creating a compelling book for readers and writers.