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“It’s early to be pegging the year’s best books, but The Wolf and the Watchman, Niklas Natt och Dag’s stunning debut, is sure to be one of them.” —The Washington Post
“What's better than an ornate period piece with style to spare? One that includes a murder mystery. Oh, and boy is it a riveting mystery....A bit of Patrick Süskind’s Perfume and a bit of Sherlock Holmes, this wolf has some bite to it.” —NPR
“Reads like a season of ‘True Detective’...anchored by a powerful sense of place and a memorable cast of characters....You won’t soon forget it.” —USA TODAY
Named Best Debut Novel of 2017 by the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers
One morning in the autumn of 1793, watchman Mikel Cardell is awakened from his drunken slumber with reports of a body seen floating in the Larder, once a pristine lake on Stockholm’s Southern Isle, now a rancid bog. Efforts to identify the bizarrely mutilated corpse are entrusted to incorruptible lawyer Cecil Winge, who enlists Cardell’s help to solve the case. But time is short: Winge’s health is failing, the monarchy is in shambles, and whispered conspiracies and paranoia abound.
Winge and Cardell become immersed in a brutal world of guttersnipes and thieves, mercenaries and madams. From a farmer’s son who is led down a treacherous path when he seeks his fortune in the capital to an orphan girl consigned to the workhouse by a pitiless parish priest, their gruesome investigation peels back layer upon layer of the city’s labyrinthine society. The rich and the poor, the pious and the fallen, the living and the dead—all collide and interconnect with the body pulled from the lake.
Breathtakingly bold and intricately constructed, The Wolf and the Watchman brings to life the crowded streets, gilded palaces, and dark corners of late-eighteenth-century Stockholm, offering a startling vision of the crimes we commit in the name of justice, and the sacrifices we make in order to survive.