Book Review: ‘The Scarred Woman’ |

Book Review: ‘The Scarred Woman’

by JONATHAN ELDERFIELD for The Associated Press
This image released by Dutton shows "The Scarred Woman," by Jussi Adler-Olsen. (Dutton via AP)
AP | Dutton


“The Scarred Woman”

Jussi Adler-Olsen

Dutton, 2017

668 pages, hardcover

Who is “The Scarred Woman”? That’s a question you’ll ask yourself as you read Jussi Adler-Olsen’s latest mystery.

Department Q, Copenhagen’s cold case squad led by Detective Carl Morck, has its hands full with a fresh murder that happens to resemble an unsolved killing from more than 10 years ago. In the new case, an elderly woman has been hit over the head in King’s Garden. Concurrent with the investigation, Rose, one of Morck’s colleagues, seems to have seriously gone off the rails. When we first meet her, she cannot remember the way to work on her scooter.

And if two cases (one cold and one hot) weren’t enough for Department Q to deal with, it seems that a maniac is intent on committing acts of vehicular homicide on a group of young, out-of-work women.

Is Rose the scarred woman? Is it a bland social servant who decides to go on a killing spree and researches the best way to carry out her murders by looking on the internet? Or could it be the elderly victim or even one of the unemployed young women?

Adler-Olsen clearly has a sense of humor. There are moments throughout the novel when Morck’s workmate, Assad, uses idioms imperfectly and Carl repeatedly corrects him. Assad’s errors and Morck’s fixes add lightness and comedy to the otherwise murderous proceedings.

You’ll be desperate to figure out the identity of the scarred woman as the suspense drives toward a deadly and at times comical conclusion. Just remember, scars aren’t always only skin deep.