The Living and the Dead in Winsford
Winner of the Rosenkrantz Award for Best Thriller of the Year.
From the bestselling, award-winning Swedish author, The Living and the Dead in Winsford is a gripping and deeply atmospheric psychological thriller set on Exmoor.
There is nobody in the world who knows that we are here . . .
A woman arrives in the village of Winsford on Exmoor. She has travelled a long way and chosen her secluded cottage carefully. Maria's sole intention is to outlive her beloved dog Castor. And to survive the torrent of memories that threaten to overwhelm her.
Weeks before, Maria and her husband Martin fled Stockholm under a cloud. The couple were bound for Morocco, where Martin planned to write an explosive novel; one that would reveal the truth behind dark events within his commune of writers decades before. But the couple never made it to their destination.
As Maria settles into her lonely new life, walking the wild, desolate moors, it becomes clear that Winsford isn't quite the sanctuary she thought it would be. While the long, dark evenings close in and the weather worsens, strange things begin to happen around her. But what terrible secrets is Maria guarding? And who is trying to find her?
A haunting, masterly unravelling of a dreadful crime, in The Living and the Dead in Winsford, Håkan Nesser, the bestselling, award-winning author of the Van Veeteren series, tightens the tension like a noose . . .
A standalone that certainly won't disappoint . . . Maria pretends to the locals that she is an author seeking peace and quiet, but her sole intention is to outlive her pet. The revelation of exactly what it is that she is trying to escape and why she intends to end her life is gradual and utterly intriguing. Told in the first person, this is a superb evocation of a woman in the grip of a major emotional and moral crisis, set against a well-evoked moorland landscape.
One of the pleasures of The Living and the Dead in Winsford is the drip feed of vital information that hurtles you through its 471 pages as it probes deeper into its heroine's demons.
Nesser lives in Gotland but spends part of each year in the UK and he obviously knows his Winsford - and better still his Exmoor. The claustrophobia and comfort of village life, the terror of darkness on an exposed and desolate landscape; proximity with a natural world as beautiful as it is harsh: every detail seems etched into Nesser's viscerally descriptive writing.
. . . A ripping yarn
The smooth, silky prose holds the reader's attention from start to finish, and it's no surprise to discover that this book won the Palle Rosencrantz Prize for best thriller of the year