Mysteries Every Thinking Woman Should Read

The age of the hardboiled sleuth and his bimbo sidekick is over! With a little help from Partners & Crime, we've found nine brilliant, believable female detectives.
Sun Storm (The Rebecca Martinsson Novels)

Sun Storm (The Rebecca Martinsson Novels)

320 pages; Delacorte
In the flood of Swedish mysteries since the success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Asa Larson's Sun Storm and its two other titles are worth a little special recognition. In the first of the series, Rebecca Martinsson, an overworked tax attorney, is drawn back to her small northern city of Kiruna when her childhood sweetheart is murdered—graphically—in the aisle of his mega-church. Rebecca finds herself representing his arrested sister, caring for his two nephews and their dog and investigating the local reverends, all while battling her own memories. This isn't book where you track down clues and try to guess the guilty party before Rebecca does. The killers, somewhat disappointingly, step in a little too conveniently. Regardless, the pleasure is in the details of this cold, dark foreign world where characters eat gherkin sandwiches, work in subterranean mushroom mines and ice-fish in fiberglass huts. Also fascinating are the bits of American political and issues recast in Swedish terms, such a religious fundamentalism and Arctic-oil exploration—not to mention the nine-months-pregnant local policewoman who befriends Rebecca and manages to save her from danger. Finally, a crime fighter who has all the needed gut instincts, plus a mother's intuition.—Leigh Newman