The Indian Bride (Inspector Sejer Series #5)

The Indian Bride (Inspector Sejer Series #5)

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Overview

Karin Fossum's fourth chilling crime novel finds Inspector Sejer on the hunt for a brutal killer in a good town gone bad.

 

When long-time bachelor Gunder Jomann goes to India for two weeks and comes home married, the town of Elvestad is stunned. Then, on the day his bride is supposed to arrive, the battered body of a woman is found on the outskirts of town. The "good people of Elvestad" can’t believe that anyone among them could be capable of such a crime. But in his quiet way, Inspector Konrad Sejer understands that no one is completely innocent—not the café owner who knows too much, the girl who wants the attention that comes with being a witness, or the bodybuilder with no outlet for his terrible strength.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156033367
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 06/01/2008
Series: Inspector Sejer Series , #5
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 578,135
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

KARIN FOSSUM is the author of the internationally successful Inspector Konrad Sejer crime series. Her recent honors include a Gumshoe Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for mystery/thriller. She lives in Norway.


Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
The silence is shattered by the barking of a dog. The mother looks up from the sink and stares out of the window. The barking comes from deep in the dog’s throat. All of its black, muscular body quivers with excitement.
Then she sees her son. He gets out of the red Golf and lets a blue bag fall to the ground. He glances toward the window, registering the faint outline of his mother. He goes to the dog and releases it from its chain. The animal throws itself at him. They roll on the ground, sending the dirt flying. The dog growls and her son shouts affectionate curses in its ears. Sometimes he yells at the top of his lungs and smacks the Rottweiler hard across its snout. At last it stays down. Slowly he gets to his feet. Brushes the dust and dirt from his pants. Glances once more at the window. The dog gets up hesitantly and cowers in front of him, its head down, until he allows it to come and lick the corners of his mouth, submissively. Then he walks to the house and comes into the kitchen.
“Good God, look at the state of you!”
The blue T-shirt is bloodstained. His hands are covered in cuts. The dog has scratched his face, too.
“Never seen anything like it,” she says and sniffs angrily. “Leave the bag. I’m doing a load of laundry later.”
He folds his scratched arms across his chest. They are powerful, like the rest of him. Close to two hundred pounds and not a hint of fat. The muscles have just been used and they are warm.
“Calm down,” he tells her. “I’ll do it.”
She can’t believe her ears. Him, wash his own clothes?
“Where have you been?” she says. “Surely you don’t work out from six to eleven?”
Her son mumbles something. He has his back to her.
“With Ulla. We were babysitting.”
She looks at the broad back. His hair is very blond and stands upright like a brush. Thin stripes have been dyed scarlet. It’s as if he were on fire. He disappears down the basement stairs. She hears the old washing machine start up. She lets the water out of the sink and stares into the yard. The dog has lain down with its head on its paws. The last remnant of light is disappearing. Her son is back, says he’s going to take a shower.
“A shower at this hour? You’ve just come from the gym?”
He doesn’t reply. Later she hears him in the bathroom, sounding hollow in the tiled space. He’s singing. The door to the medicine cupboard slams. He’s probably looking for a bandage, silly boy.
His mother smiles. All of this violence is only to be expected. He is a man, after all. Later, she would never forget this. The last moment when life was good.

It began with Gunder Jomann’s journey. Gunder went all the way to India to find himself a wife. When people asked, he did not say that that was why he had gone. He hardly admitted it to himself. It was a journey to see a bit of the world, he explained when his colleagues asked. What an outrageous extravagance! He never spent anything on himself. Hardly ever went out, never accepted invitations to Christmas parties, kept himself busy either with his house or his garden or his car. Had never had a woman either, so far as anyone knew. Gunder was not troubled by the gossip. He was in fact a determined man. Slow—it was undeniable—but he got where he wanted without making waves. He had time on his side. In the evenings when he was in his fifty-first year he sat leafing through a book—a present from his younger sister, Marie—People of All Nations. Since he never went anywhere except to and from his workplace, a small, solid business that sold agricultural machinery, she could make sure that at least he had the chance to see pictures of what went on in the great wide world. Gunder read the book and leafed through the illustrations. He was most fascinated by India. The beautiful women with the red dots on their foreheads. Their painted eyes, their flirtatious smiles. One of them looked back at him from the book and he was soon lost in sweet dreams. No one could dream like Gunder. He closed his eyes and flew away. She was as light as a feather in her red costume. Her eyes were so deep and dark, like black glass. Her hair was hidden under a scarf with golden frills. He had been gazing at the photograph for months. It was clear to him that he wanted an Indian wife. Not because he wanted a subservient and self-sacrificing woman, but because he wanted someone he could cherish and adore. Norwegian women didn’t want to be adored. Actually he had never understood them, never understood what they wanted. Because he lacked nothing, as far as he could see. He had a house, a garden, a car, a job, and his kitchen was well equipped. There was a heated floor in the bathroom, and he had a television and a video recorder, a washing machine, a dryer, a microwave, a willing heart, and money in the bank. Gunder understood that there were other, more abstract factors that determined whether you were lucky in love—he wasn’t an imbecile. However, it was not much use to him unless it was something that could be learned or bought. Your time will come, his mother used to say as she lay dying in the big hospital bed. His father had passed away years before. Gunder had grown up with these two women, his mother and his sister, Marie. When his mother was seventy she developed a brain tumor and for long periods she was not herself. He would wait patiently for her to once more become the person he knew and loved. Your time will come. You’re a good boy, you are, Gunder. One fine day a woman will come your way, you’ll see. But he did not see anyone coming his way. So he booked a flight to India. He knew it was a poor country. Perhaps he might find a woman there who could not afford to turn down his offer of following him all the way to Norway, to this pretty house, which belonged to him. He would pay for her family to come and visit, if they wanted to. He did not wish to separate anyone. And if she had some complicated faith, then he certainly would not stop her from observing it. There were few people as patient as Gunder. If only he could find a wife!
There were other options. But he did not have the courage to get on the bus to Poland with others, strangers. And he did not want to jump on a plane to Thailand. There were so many rumors about what went on there. He wanted to find a woman all by himself. Everything should be up to him. The thought of sitting down browsing through catalogs with photographs and descriptions of different women or staring at a TV screen where they offered themselves one after the other—that was unthinkable to Gunder. He would never be able to make up his mind.
The light from the reading lamp warmed his balding head. On a map of the world he found India and her principal cities: Madras, Bombay, New Delhi. He favored a city by the sea. Many Indians spoke English and he felt reassured by that. Some were even Christians, according to People of All Nations. It would be the most happy coincidence if he were to meet a woman who was perhaps a Christian and spoke English well. It mattered less whether she was twenty or fifty. He did not expect to have children, he was not overambitious, but if she had one, he would accept that as part of the deal. He might have to bargain. There were many customs in other countries so different from the ones here at home; he would pay handsomely if it was a question of money. His inheritance after his mother died was considerable.
First of all he needed to find a travel agency. There were four to choose from. One in the shopping center, consisting only of a counter that you stood leaning against while going through some brochures. Gunder preferred to sit. This was an important decision, not something you did standing up, in a hurry. He would have to go into town; there were three travel agencies there. He looked through the telephone directory. Then he remembered that Marie had once left a holiday brochure in his house to tempt him. So like Marie, he thought, and looked in the index under I. Ialyssos. Ibiza. Ireland. Were there no holidays in India? He found Bali under the Indonesian islands, but dismissed the thought. It was India or nothing. He would just have to ring the airport directly and book. He would manage as always, he always had, and in a big city they would be used to travelers. However, it was evening now and too late to call. Instead he turned the pages of People of All Nations once more. For a long time he sat gazing at the Indian beauty. Imagine that a woman could be so wondrously pretty, so golden and smooth, so exquisitely delicate. She had gathered her shawl beneath her chin with a slender hand. She wore jewelry on her wrists. Her iris was practically black with a flash of light, from the sun perhaps, and she stared straight at Gunder. Into his longing eyes. They were large and blue and he closed them now. She followed him into his dream. He dozed in his chair and floated away with the golden beauty. She was weightless. Her blood-red costume fluttered against his face.


Copyright © J. W. Cappelens Forlag, A.S., 2001
English translation copyright © Charlotte Barslund, 2005

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at www.harcourt.com/contact or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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The Indian Bride (Inspector Sejer Series #5) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The corpse of a battered woman is found near the town of Elvestad, Norway. Police Inspector Konrad Sejer is assigned to lead the investigation. The body is identified as Poona Jomann of India, the wife of tractor salesman Gunder, who just married the victim. Coincidently, an auto accident involving Gunder's sister kept him from meeting his new bride at the airport thus Poona was traveling by herself to their home.------------ Because of the degree of the battering, Sejer assumes a crime of passion of some sort happened so he concentrates on the townsfolk seeking a motive. He quickly learns that everyone who knows the fiftyish Gunder was stunned when he suddenly married as he was considered a lifetime bachelor by one and all. Still none of the residents accept that one of them is the killer as they prefer a random incident. However, Sejer begins to uncover potential suspects amongst the 2347 residents a few who might have a motive to commit such a horrific deed.-------------- THE INDIAN BRIDE is an excellent Norwegian police procedural that combines a great investigation with a vivid look at a small somewhat insular Norwegian village. The story line is fast-paced, but also enables the audience to understand life in Elvestad and how much an outsider the former Mumbai, India resident would have been if she lived. Karin Fossin provides a great whodunit that will lead readers to seek other translations of Inspector Sejer mysteries (see WHEN THE DEVIL HOLDS THE CANDLE).---------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great writer - her characters feel human which is what makes her writing so effective and chilling. Definitely plan to read the entire series- i am hookedd!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Wish this author available on my nook
cameling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gunder, a quiet who has never traveled outside Norway, is entranced by the beautiful women he sees in a book, and makes a spur of the moment decision that if he goes to India, he will find his bride there ... somewhere in the teeming city of Mumbai. And find her he does, but on the day that she is to arrive in Oslo, his sister has an accident and is rushed to the hospital. Gunder has a tough decision to make ... to rush to his sister's side or to pick up his wife from the airport. It's a decision that haunts him later. His Indian wife is found battered to death in a meadow.We are introduced to any number of individuals, all with some sort of connection to the dead woman, and most of whom are lying about something or other. But who's the real murderer? This was an interesting book in Fossum's Inspector Sejer series because she presents, eventually, an individual who confesses, but is he the real murderer, or is the real murderer still wandering around the town of Elvestad? There is no neat ending in this book. I wonder if there is to be a sequel to this one.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In The Indian Bride, author Karin Fossum explores the effects of a violent murder on a small Norwegian community. Fossum provides insight into the thought processes of the villagers, who form individual conclusions about the murder and wrestle with their duty to either report or withhold information from the police. Inspector Sejer and his partner are faced with the task of evaluating witness statements. Are the witnesses telling the truth, and are their perceptions reliable? Are any witnesses withholding information? If so, is it because they are guilty, or for some other reason?This is a well-written police procedural and should appeal to fans of that genre. I did find the ending somewhat abrupt, however, and various questions were left unresolved -- much like real life. It left me feeling slightly unsettled. If you like your mysteries all wrapped up neatly, you may be frustrated by these loose threads.
annbury on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful novel from Karin Fossum. As usual, Inspector Sejer conducts the investigation, but in this novel the focus is more on the back story of the victim and of the central male character. The characters are fully drawn, and in this case, some of them are very sympathetic.
thornton37814 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gunder Jomann goes to India to find a bride. She has a little business left to complete so he heads back to his town of Elvestad to prepare for her arrival. On the day he is to meet her at the airport, his sister is seriously injured in a car accident. He sends a taxi to get her, but the taxi driver does not find her. The body of a foreign woman is found near his home town. Inspector Sejer and his team set out to investigate. Everyone in the town appears to be hiding something. Readers are unsure at the end if the police have found the right murderer.This was a book that captivated my attention from start to finish. I was a bit disappointed in the ending, but I don't know if that is because of a difference in the expectations of this genre in the Norwegian and American cultures or not. I would have preferred for things to have been all neatly tied up with no doubts in the reader's mind that the right culprit had been arrested. I know that in real life things are rarely so neatly tied up, but it makes for more satisfying fiction reads to know that justice has been served to the right person. I do hope to read future books by this author.
bezoar44 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Character, rather than plot, drives this mystery. The mystery is tragic and compelling, but some of the most satisfying parts of the novel have nothing to do with the central crime, but explore how various characters deal with loss and the transience of the people we love. The translation must be pretty good; the English text is fluid and precise.
ten_floors_up on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth Karin Fossum novel I've read (in translation). As with the others I've read, it has a very concise but nuanced style, and skilful character portrayal. I'll be reading more.
aimless22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A brutal crime followed by the steps investigator Sejer takes to find out the truth. Characters are fleshed out. I felt unfulfilled at the end. Not sure what to believe. Was the truth revealed or was the ethical gray area of law enforcement revealed? Was this on purpose? Perhaps I will read more in Fossum's Investigator Sejer series.
BCCJillster on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
heartbreaking murder after a lonely man finds love. Fossum is good as always but leaves several things unresolved. Odd. Now I have to wait for the release of the next one. Sigh.
murraymint11 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good, solid crime story.... with a strange ending. I was weaned on Agatha Christie where everything is clarified in the final chapter and that's the way I like my mystery books. This one felt like the author had stopped in mid-sentence, which was really frustrating. I thought I must have missed something, but apparently not. Shame, because I like Fossum's writing style.
Brodk More than 1 year ago
An interesting subject, mail-order brides, as seen through a mystery/thriller lens. An older man in Norway goes to India on a whim and while there finds and marries an Indian woman. When she travels to Norway to reunite with him, she is murdered before she reaches his house. The book is not primarily about the mystery (who killed her), as it is obvious whodunit. Rather, the focus is one the lives of the people involved. In this regard the book is skilled, but since it is marketed as a mystery I give it three stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am on my last thirty pages. I so hope that it won't be an unresolved ending. I have experienced that with a couple of other books from Karin. I have read and enjoyed all her books but I do believe it was THE CALLER that also left me with a feeling of the book just missing the end. I still had questions and that was very unsatisfying to me. That being said: I love her books and hopefully she will come out with more. The Inspector Seyer character is wonderful!. So REAL. Wish I could meet him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book's ending left me hanging. Many issues were left unresolved. I felt robbed. The story just stopped. Almost like the author had no energy left to finish thee job.
barbaraycoast More than 1 year ago
author has written better books
Chequamegon More than 1 year ago
I did not particularly care for this novel because the ending was so unresolved - - it was disappointing and seemed unfair to the victim and well as to the suspects. Maybe it is this author's style as it is the only book of this series I have read. It will probably remain as such.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this novel! Besides being a mystery, it is also a love story. Karin Fossum is a wonderful writer. I hope toread more of her books on my nook!