The Tenant

The Tenant by Katrine Engberg (2016/2020) was my library book club’s June selection and a murder mystery set in Copenhagen, Denmark with detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner on the case. The story is mostly told from Kørner’s perspective–he is newly divorced, with a bad back and something of a painkiller dependence. The banter between Kørner and Werner is familiar and they are prone to annoying each other, as one would expect of work partners who spend a lot of time together.

The body of a young woman is found by one of her elderly neighbors (the house is owned by an elderly woman), and people in the owner’s orbit become suspects. The woman’s father has an unusual reaction, but suspicious characters abound. The owner then finds that someone in her writing group described the murder in a Google doc they are critiquing–could it have been one of them? Then there is another murder–is it connected or something completely different?

If you like Scandinavian noir, you’ll probably like it. It was well-plotted, and I didn’t have any idea about the killer or why they killed until the author wanted me to. I liked the descriptions of Denmark since I’ve never been.

But. The author included a lot of discussion of characters’ bodies, from Jeppe being as skinny as Mick Jagger, to Anette looking as hale and hearty as if she’d just had Dea good meal and a lot of sex. I don’t recall any explicit anti-fat bias except that Anette was described as verging on “too big” (too big for what?) but the numerous descriptions of bodies was annoying to me. I’ll call it weight-neutral, but barely.

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