Fossum, Karin 1954-

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Fossum, Karin 1954-


Born 1954, in Sandefjord, Norway.


Home—Oslo, Norway.


Novelist and poet.


Nordic Glass Key award, 1997, for Don't Look Back.



Se deg ikke tilbake!, Cappelen (Oslo, Norway), 1997, translation by David Felicity published as Don't Look Back, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2002.

En som frykter ulven, Cappelen (Oslo, Norway), c. 1997, translation by David Felicity published as He Who Fears the Wolf, Harvill (London, England), 2003.

Djevelen holder lyset, Cappelen (Oslo, Norway), 1998, translation published as When the Devil Holds the Candle, Harvill (London, England), 2004, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.

De gales hus, Cappelen (Oslo, Norway), 1999.

Jonas Eckel, Cappelen (Oslo, Norway), 2002.

Svarte sekunder, 2002, English translation by Charlotte Barslund published as Black Seconds, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2007.

Natt til fjerde November, Cappelen (Oslo, Norway), 2003.

Brudd, Cappelen (Oslo, Norway), 2006.

The Indian Bride, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2007.

Author of other novels in the "Inspector Sejer" series; author of two collections of short stories. Author of poetry, including a collection published in 1974.

Fossum's books have been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, German, and several other languages.


Karin Fossum, dubbed "Norway's Queen of Crime," is the author of a popular mystery series featuring inspector Konrad Sejer that has been translated into sixteen languages. Boston Globe reviewer Kevin O'Kelly wrote of Fossum's fictional sleuth that "Sejer's personal life alone would make a novel. He's a widower still grieving for his wife, a son who feels guilty about how seldom he visits his mother, a pet owner worried about the long hours his dog spends alone at home, and a father who can only watch helplessly as his son-in-law's career takes his daughter and grandson to another country."

In Don't Look Back, Fossum's English-language debut and the fifth book in the series, two children report that they saw a body by the lake, and it is identified as that of Annie Holland, a young athlete popular in the village. Bill Ott wrote in Booklist that Fossum "expertly evokes the palpable tension beneath the surface of a seemingly idyllic community." Commenting on the secrets that Sejer and his assistant Skarre must uncover in order to solve the murder, a Kirkus Reviews contributor cited Fossum's Don't Look Back as "top-drawer evidence that a practiced hand can still ring memorably creepy changes on the classic whodunit."

Fossum's sixth Dejer novel, Svarte sekunder, was translated into English by Charlotte Barslund and published as Black Seconds. According to a reviewer for Leserglede, the book ranks "among her best—well written, highly exciting, and with all the depth one expects from Fossum." The story concerns the disappearance of a little girl, Ida Joner. Ida is a sweet child who is approaching her tenth birthday. One morning, she leaves her mother Helga to ride a short distance on her bicycle to purchase some candy. When she fails to return in a reasonable amount of time, Helga grows worried and calls the police. Soon hundreds of volunteers have joined in the search for the missing girl, but they fail to find any trace of her or her bicycle. Then, a few days after her disappearance, Ida's body is found next to a busy roadway. The mystery surrounding her death remains; subplots in the novel concern Emil Mork, a mentally impaired, mute man who lives alone except for his parrot, and Ida's cousin Tomme, who seems more concerned with the dent on his car than he does with Ida's disappearance. Reviewing the novel for BookLoons, Hilary Williamson noted that she was able to predict how the plot would resolve, but said that nevertheless, she was "absorbed by the credible details and by the decency and caring of the policemen involved." Kerrie Smith also noted in Reviewers Choice that careful readers would probably figure out the mystery before they reached the end of the book, but stated that this would not mar the reader's enjoyment: "The path is rich with scenes, characters, and explorations of how people think, and why they make the choices they do. Even so, nothing is certain, the characters are as large as life, and the scenarios so believable." In the end, the little girl's death is relatively uncomplicated, and as Fiona Walker commented in Eurocrime: "This sad simplicity adds to the strange power of her novels, with their achingly realistic crimes, and their achingly realistic victims, their relatives and neighbours."



Booklist, March 15, 2004, Bill Ott, review of Don't Look Back, p. 1270.

Boston Globe, March 24, 2004, Kevin O'Kelly, review of Don't Look Back, section F, p. 7.

Entertainment Weekly, March 12, 2004, Ben Spier, review of Don't Look Back, p. 121.

Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2004, review of Don't Look Back, p. 16.

Library Journal, February 1, 2004, Rex Klett, review of Don't Look Back, p. 128.

New York Times Book Review, April 11, 2004, Marilyn Stasio, review of Don't Look Back, p. 14.

Publishers Weekly, January 5, 2004, review of Don't Look Back, p. 43.

Times Picayune, August 8, 2004, Diana Pinckley, review of Don't Look Back, p. 6.


BookLoons, (March 6, 2008), Hilary Williamson, review of Black Seconds.

Eurocrime, (July, 2007), Fiona Walker, review of Black Seconds.

Leserglede, (December 12, 2007), review of Black Seconds.

Reviewers Choice, (March 5, 2008), Kerrie Smith, review of Black Seconds.

Star, (January 27, 2008), Jack Batten, review of Black Seconds.