Although there are some issues I did not like about The Ice Princess tale, these are not reasons for passing up this unique mystery by Camilla Lackberg. The story takes place in Sweden which spends a good bit of its year in deep cold. Just the cover of this tale will make a reader shiver.
After finding out that a female friend of twenty-five years past did not, according to forensics reports, commit suicide, Erica Falck attempts to put together the missing pieces of this woman’s life. It appears that all agree with police reports, even though Erica finds Anna’s body sitting erect, wrists cut, in a bath with ice across the top of the water.
Police tests show that the young woman’s death occurred long before she was propped in the tub so that the water would freeze around her as the temperature dropped far below freezing inside her apartment. A home without a furnace would quickly lose heat in such a subzero climate (-30). In this particular story, exactly when the furnace became out-of-order is a timely clue to the alleged suicidal death.
Erica does her best to piece together the missing years of Anna’s life. She uncovers secrets about Anna’s family and her relationships with various family members. Of course, Erica falls in love with a hunky intelligent policeman, but what would a story be without some form of romance?
In The Ice Princess, it would appear that all the family knows more, a lot more. And most of all, what about Anna’s mother? What would she know about her children that might better be kept hidden from them and the rest of the world? Is Anna’s mother a victim, or a protector for family members who always seem shoved to the background.
I enjoyed The Ice Princess as a mystery. It held me suspended until the awful truth finally surfaces. What I did not enjoy was that as a story, the book was an emotional foxhole. One of the few positive events that happens is the physical and emotional love relationship between Erica and detective Patrick.
In that part of the world where ice and snow preside over weather most of the year, this chilling suspense/mystery is just that. It duplicates the weather — it leaves one very cold physically and very chilled emotionally. But then I realize that not all dark stories can have a happy ending.
I would recommend The Ice Princess as a good read, only if you also surround yourself with other stories which have a more balanced, a more pleasurable ideal for the human situation. Cold climate does not necessarily mean a frigid story.