Karin Fossum is an award-winning Norwegian author who began her literary career as a poet but became famous for her work in the crime genre.
She’s the writer of Inspector Sejer which was launched in 1995 with the book “Evas øye” aka In the Darkness in English. It’s a dark procedural series about the investigations led by the enigmatic Konrad Sejer and his partner Jacob Skarre.
How to read Karin Fossum’s Books in Order?
Read The Inspector Sejer Series in Order
The publication dates next to the titles are the American ones.
- In the Darkness (aka Eva’s Eye, 2012) – Eva Magnus and her daughter are out walking by the river when they make a grisly discovery: a man’s body floating on the water’s surface. Eva goes to call the police, but when she reaches the phone, she dials another number all together for her own reasons. But when the police find the body anyway, Inspector Sejer and his team quickly determine that the man, Egil, died from a violent attack.
- Don’t Look Back (2002) – At the foot of the imposing Kollen Mountain lies a small, idyllic village, where neighbors know neighbors and children play happily in the streets. But when the body of a teenage girl is found by the lake at the mountaintop, the town’s tranquility is shattered forever. Annie was strong, intelligent, and loved by everyone. What went so terribly wrong? Doggedly, yet subtly, Inspector Sejer uncovers layer upon layer of distrust and lies beneath the town’s seemingly perfect façade.
- He Who Fears the Wolf (2003) – A twelve-year-old boy runs into his local police station claiming to have seen a brutally dismembered corpse. Errki Johrma, an escaped psychiatric patient and known town misfit, was spotted at the scene before he disappeared into the woods. The next morning the local bank is robbed at gunpoint. Making his escape, the robber takes a hostage and also flees into the woods. As the search for Halldis Horn’s killer continues all fingers of suspicion point to Errki – except one. Errki’s doctor refuses to believe that he could have committed such a horrific act and, for the first time since his wife’s death, Inspector Sejer finds himself intrigued by another woman.
- When the Devil Holds the Candle (2004) – When the theft of a purse from a stroller results in an infant’s death, two teenagers are in trouble. Unaware of the enormity of their crime, Zipp and Andreas are intent on committing still another. They follow an elderly woman home, and Andreas enters her house with his ever-reliable switchblade. Motionless in the dark, Zipp waits for his friend to come out. Inspector Konrad Sejer and his colleague Jacob Skarre see no connection between the infant’s death and the reported disappearance of a local delinquent.
- The Indian Bride (aka Calling Out For You, 2005) – When perpetual bachelor Gunder Jomann goes to India for two weeks and comes home married, the town of Elvestad is stunned. On the day the Indian bride is supposed to arrive, the battered body of a woman is found in a meadow on the outskirts of town. None of the “good people of Elvestad” can believe that anyone among them would be capable of such a brutal murder. But in his quiet, formal way, Inspector Konrad Sejer understands that good people can commit atrocious deeds, and that no one is altogether innocent-including the café owner who knows too much, the girl who wants to be a chief witness, and the bodybuilder with no outlet for his terrible strength.
- Black Seconds (2007) – Ida Joner gets on her brand-new bike and sets off toward town. A good-natured, happy girl, she is looking forward to her tenth birthday. Thirty-five minutes after Ida should have come home, her mother starts to worry. She phones store owners, Ida’s friends-anyone who could have seen her. But no one has. Suspicion immediately falls on Emil Mork, a local character who lives alone and hasn’t spoken since childhood. As Ida’s relatives reach the breaking point and the media frenzy surrounding the case begins, Inspector Konrad Sejer is his usual calm and reassuring self. But he’s puzzled. And disturbed. This is the strangest case he’s seen in years.
- The Murder of Harriet Krohn (2014) – Charlo Torp, a newly recovered gambler, makes his way through the slush to Harriet Krohn’s apartment, flowers in hand. Determined to pay off his debts, Charlo plans to steal the old woman’s antique silver collection. But he didn’t expect her to put up a fight. The following morning, Inspector Sejer is called to the scene to investigate. Harriet is dead, her silver missing, and the only clue in the apartment is an abandoned bouquet. When Charlo sees the news, he knows he should be relieved, but he’s heard of Sejer’s amazing record.
- The Water’s Edge (2009) – Reinhardt and Kristine Ris, a married couple, are out for a Sunday walk when they discover the body of a boy and see the figure of a man limping away. They alert the police, but not before Reinhardt, to Kristine’s horror, kneels down and takes photographs of the dead child with his cell phone. Inspectors Konrad Sejer and Jakob Skarre begin to make inquiries in the little town of Huseby. But then another boy disappears, and an explanation seems more remote than ever. Meanwhile, the Rises’ marriage unravels as Reinhardt becomes obsessed with the tragic events and his own part in them.
- Bad Intentions (2010) – Konrad Sejer must face down his memories and fears as he struggles to determine why the corpses of troubled young men keep surfacing in local lakes. The first victim, Jon Moreno, was getting better. His psychiatrist said so, and so did his new friend at the hospital, Molly Gram, with her little-girl-lost looks. He was racked by mysterious guilt that had driven him to a nervous breakdown one year earlier. But when he drowns in Dead Water Lake, Sejer hesitates to call it a suicide. Then another corpse is found in a lake…
- The Caller (2011) – One mild summer evening, a young couple are enjoying dinner while their daughter sleeps peacefully in her stroller under a tree. When her mother steps outside she is stunned: the child is covered in blood. Inspector Sejer is called to the hospital to meet the family. The child is unharmed, but the parents are deeply shaken, and Sejer spends the evening trying to understand why anyone would carry out such a sinister prank. Then, just before midnight, somebody rings his doorbell. No one is at the door, but the caller has left a small gray envelope on Sejer’s mat. From his living room window, the inspector watches a figure disappear into the darkness. Inside the envelope, Sejer finds a postcard bearing a short message: Hell begins now.
- The Drowned Boy (2015) – Carmen and Nicolai failed to resuscitate their son, Tommy, after finding him floating in their backyard pond. When Inspector Skarre arrives on the scene, Carmen reports that Tommy, a healthy toddler with Down syndrome, wandered into the garden while Nicolai was working in the basement and she was cleaning the house. Skarre senses something is off with Carmen’s story and consults his trusted colleague, the famed Inspector Sejer. An autopsy reveals Tommy’s lungs to be full of soap. When Sejer and Skarre revisit the couple, Carmen, an epileptic, changes her story, confessing that she’d been knocked unconscious by a seizure while bathing Tommy. When she came to, she found him drowned in the tub and, horrified and frightened, threw him into the pond. But Skarre and Sejer’s doubt is not appeased and the case is reopened.
- Hell Fire (2016) – A gruesome tableau awaits Inspector Konrad Sejer in the oppressive summer heat: a woman and a young boy lay dead in a pool of blood near a dank trailer. The motivation behind the deaths of Bonnie Hayden and her five-year-old son, Simon, is mysterious-there is no sign of robbery. In a parallel story, another mother, Mass Malthe, navigates life with her adult son, Eddie. It’s a relationship some would call too close, since Eddie’s father, a man he obsesses over, abandoned them many years ago. As Sejer searches for the truth behind the seemingly senseless killings, Hell Fire deftly probes why we lie to those closest to us, and what drives people to commit the most horrific of crimes.
- The Whisperer (2018) – Ragna Riegel is a soft-spoken woman of routines. She must have order in her life, and she does, until one day she finds a letter in her mailbox with her name on the envelope and a clear threat written in block capitals on the sheet inside. With the arrival of the letter, and eventually others like it, Ragna’s carefully constructed life begins to unravel into a nightmare-threatened by an unknown enemy, paranoid and unable to sleep, her isolation becomes all the more extreme. Ragna’s distress does culminate in a death, but she is the perpetrator rather than the victim.
Read the Standalone Crime Novels by Karin Fossum in Publication Order
- Broken (2008) – In the middle of the night, a man breaks into a woman’s house, finds her bedroom, and wakes her up. She’s the author who could save his soul by telling his story. He’s one of many characters waiting their turn-except now he’s cut the line. After all, she could die soon, leaving him lost forever. He refuses to leave until she gives him a name. And so his story begins… Alvar Eide, forty-two and single, works in an art gallery. He maintains a quiet life–until one icy winter morning when a drug-addicted young woman walks into his gallery to escape the cold. Alvar gives her a cup of coffee to warm her up. Soon after, she appears on his doorstep…
- I Can See in the Dark (2013) – Riktor doesn’t like the way the policeman storms into his home without even knocking. He doesn’t like the arrogant way he walks around the house, taking note of its contents. The policeman doesn’t bother to explain why he’s there, and Riktor is too afraid to ask. He knows he’s guilty of a terrible crime and he’s sure the policeman has found him out. But when the policeman finally does arrest him, it’s for something totally unexpected. Riktor doesn’t have a clear conscience, but the crime he’s being accused of is one he certainly didn’t commit. Imprisoned and desperate to break out, he fights to clear his name without further incriminating himself.
If you like our article about the Karin Fossum reading order, especially about the Inspector Sejer series in order, don’t forget to bookmark it! And you may be interested in Camilla Lackberg’s book series, or Hakan Nesser’s books.