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Posted: September 8, 2019

Detailed writing helps portray a foreign view

Book Review

By Derryll White

Blaedel, Sara (2018).  The Night Woman.

This is a revised and updated version of a much earlier novel of Sara Blaedel’s, ‘Farewell to Freedom’. It focuses on a much earlier Louise Rick, still single and a lowly homicide assistant detective. For those of you who have followed Louise, there is no Missing Persons Department in the police at the time ‘The Night Woman’ was written.

Sara Blaedel spends time and energy outlining the impact of Eastern European (specifically Czechoslovakian and Albanian) crime on Danish society.  Prostitution and trafficking in women comes to the forefront.

Given what has happened in Denmark and the region surrounding since the time of ‘The Night Women’ it makes an interesting read, social history in the rear view mirror.  I enjoyed Blaedel’s honest assessment of outside forces on Danish society.  As always, her writing is detailed and presents a view foreign to the North American audience.


PROSTITUTION – “Some johns think they can get away with damn near anything just because they shell out 300 kroner for a lay,” Mikkelsen said after they dropped off the battered girl.  “If the man can’t get it up, then it’s the girl’s fault, and she has to be punished for failing to deliver.”

SUCCESS – “That’s not something you just do,” he said with a sudden seriousness, turning toward her.  “That’s something you need a knack for.  Like anything else you want to be good at.  You need a knack for it, and skill.  And then you need to put your heart into it.  There are far too many young chefs who think it’s just a matter of getting your name out there.”

THE ROMA – “That’s what the Roma are known for doing,” Louise said.  She asked if Pavlina was sure the men were Albanian, and not Roma, because the Roma were well known in Denmark for their brutal human trafficking and successful methods of avoiding detection.  They were called ‘shepherds’ for a reason.  They moved their girls around Europe as if they were livestock, cleverly directing them from meadow to meadow to avoid attention from the various governments or police.

EASTERN EUROPE – “They knew exactly what they wanted to do with this execution,” she said, blocking out the light and sounds for a second while the pieces of this portrait of bestiality fell completely into place….”

“I just really want to find out who’s evil enough to subject a harmless elderly man to this.  I mean, here’s the evidence of how pointlessly brutal Eastern European crime gangs are – and apparently we’ve got them right here in Copenhagen now, too.”

– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them.  When not reading he writes history for the web at www.basininstitute.org.

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