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Reviews of A Death in Denmark by Amulya Malladi

A Death in Denmark

The First Gabriel Præst Novel

by Amulya Malladi

A Death in Denmark by Amulya Malladi X
A Death in Denmark by Amulya Malladi
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  • Paperback:
    Mar 2023, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Tasneem Pocketwala
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About this Book

Book Summary

Meet Gabriel Præst, an ex-Copenhagen cop (who dresses with panache), jazz aficionado, and relentless pursuer of truth as he explores Denmark's Nazi-collaborator past and anti-Muslim present in a page-turning Nordic murder mystery with a cosmopolitan vibe

Everyone in Denmark knew that Yousef Ahmed, a refugee from Iraq, brutally murdered the right-wing politician Sanne Melgaard. So, when part-time blues musician, frustrated home renovator, and full-time private detective Gabriel Præst agrees to investigate the matter because his ex—the one who got away—asked him to, he knew it was a no-win case.

But as Gabriel starts to ask questions, his face meets with the fists of Russian gangsters; the Danish prime minister asks him for a favor; and he starts to realize that something may be rotten in the state of Denmark.

Wondering if Yousef was framed to heighten the local anti-Muslim sentiment, Gabriel follows a trail back in time to World War II when anti-Semitism was raging in Europe during the German occupation of Denmark. Fearing a nationalistic mindset has resurfaced, Gabriel rolls up the sleeves of his well-cut suit and gets to work. From the cobblestone streets of Copenhagen to the historic Strassen of Berlin where the sounds of the steel-toed boots of marching Nazis still linger, Gabriel finds that some very powerful Danes don't want him digging into the case—as the secrets he unearths could shake the foundations of Danish identity.

Lille Jødiske Annemarie (Little Jewish Annemarie)

Greater Copenhagen, October 1, 1943

There were twenty of them, huddled together in a truck that Lars Hansen used to transport vegetables from the farm to the market in Copenhagen. Rumbling down the road in the middle of the night, they were en route from Copenhagen to Hansensgård, the Hansen farm in Helsingør.

Annemarie was cradled on her father's lap. Sitting on the metal bed of the vehicle, he leaned against a sack of onions and garlic, the scent of which tickled Annemarie's nose. No one had spoken since they had started to drive. Although Annemarie had only just turned seven, she already understood how important it was to remain silent when she was told. She knew their lives depended upon it. Since the Germans had come to Denmark three years ago, she and her family had been living in fear. She heard her parents talk about it when they thought she was sleeping.

The truck stopped after what seemed like hours. ...

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Reviews

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Anointed with the peculiar quirks and idiosyncrasies befitting a detective set to appear in a series of mystery novels, Præst is characterized quite well. He's a part-time blues musician who quotes Kierkegaard and doggedly pursues the truth while dressing impeccably in fine suits, hats and shoes. He's a devoted father and a man nursing a broken heart. What's not to love? The plot maintains a good tango between the good guys and the bad guys, enough to keep you on your toes. Whenever Præst hits upon new information regarding the case, there is pushback: a murder, a beating, a thrilling car chase. Nowhere does the steady pace drop, and it doesn't build up too intensely or feverishly either, only becoming gripping towards the very end, and even then, gently...continued

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(Reviewed by Tasneem Pocketwala).

Media Reviews

Denver Post
A Death in Denmark has a nice sense of place and a laundry list of where to drink and dine in Copenhagen.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[A] superb series launch…. Præst's pursuit of the truth takes some unexpected directions on the way to the satisfying conclusion. A killer plot matches an unusual lead sleuth, and secrets from Denmark's WWII past enhance the story line.

Author Blurb Charles Todd, New York Times bestselling author of the Ian Rutledge Mystery series and the Bess Crawford Mystery series
Not your usual ex-cop turn PI mystery! Malladi captures the Scandinavian sparseness with powerful dialogue and a true sense of place… An excellent read!

Author Blurb Iben Albinus, internationally bestselling and award-winning author of Damascus
Philip Marlowe meets Nordic Noir in a jazzy murder mystery that digs up Copenhagen's past Nazi ties in the inescapable context of the country's current refugee policies.

Author Blurb Kimberly Belle, internationally bestselling author of The Personal Assistant
Past and present collide in this tense Nordic thriller… Filled with vivid imagery and beautiful prose, A Death in Denmark is part page-turner, part unflinching examination of the racism and nationalism woven through modern Danish society. A compelling and fast-paced read, with an ending that lingers long after the last page.

Author Blurb Robert Dugoni, New York Times bestselling author of The Tracy Crosswhite series and The Charles Jenkins series
Part mystery and part international thriller, A Death in Denmark… introduces Gabriel Præst, a hard-boiled private detective with a cosmopolitan flair who readers will want more of.

Author Blurb Sonali Dev, author of The Vibrant Years
An intricate tapestry of a novel that unflinchingly lays bare the human cost of politically cultivated hate. Gabriel Præst had me firmly in his well-tailored pockets from the very first page. A fast-paced, emotionally rich, and whip smart read!

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Beyond the Book

Denmark: A Brief Overview

Black-and-white photo of resistance fighters in Copenhagen, crouched on a street corner with guns, 1945 Amulya Malladi's A Death in Denmark takes place in the country of Denmark in the north of Europe, which is comprised of the Jutland peninsula and an archipelago of over 400 islands. To the south, Denmark shares a border with Germany. On its west side, it is separated from the United Kingdom by the North Sea. The Baltic Sea and Sweden lie to its east. Together with Sweden and Norway, it makes up the region commonly known as Scandinavia.

A constitutional monarchy, Denmark has one of the best standards of living in the world, a competitive economy based on service with a high employment rate, and an efficient social security system. Queen Margrethe II, its current head of state, hails from one of the world's longest unbroken lines of ...

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Read-Alikes

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