BOOK REVIEW #8: The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen (2007)


The Keeper of Lost Causes (US) or Mercy (UK) is a book written by the Danish writer of crime fiction, as well as a publisher, editor and entrepreneur Jussi Adler-Olsen in 2007. Its original title is Kvinden i buret.

Being a fan of Scandinavian authors and thrillers, when my boyfriend gave me this book, I started reading it at once. And I loved it. Indeed, The Keeper of Lost Causes is the first book of a whole series and its author won a great number of literary prizes for it : the Sealed Room Award (Japan 2012), the Livre Robinsonnais prize (France 2012), the Grand prix des lectrices de Elle (France 2012), the Barry Award Best Novel (US 2012), the Danskerees Yndlingsforfatter (Denmark 2013), the Prix Plume d’or (France, 2013) and many more..

That should be enough to convince you to try it ! Personally, I’m already reading the sequel  The Absent One (US) or Disgrace (UK) (Fasandræberne in Danish).

Merete Lyyngard is a very popular politician in Denmark. Her future is bright and promising, but her personal life remains a mystery for everyone. When she disappears, clues are therefore very hard to find, and time passes by… Trashy magazines are quickly not able to feed their dirty columns with juicy scabrous stories while the investigation stagnates and ends up being completely abandoned. No clue, no lead.

What better way to get rid of a cumbersome truculent cop who just got back from a leave of absence after one of his colleagues died on an investigation than to give him cold cases ? Files that nobody cares about ? At least, he won’t be in the way, especially not that of the police precinct’s employees.

The creation of the Department V appears to be a miraculous solution : a dirty financial skulduggery by some of the precinct’s employees allows them to use the new branch as a pretext, and to relegate detective Carl Mørck in the basement – his new office – with dusty files.

This is how Mørck ends up working in the basement of the precinct. After all, things are not too bad : he’s free to watch TV whenever he wants to, to smoke without getting rude comments or even to take a little nap. All of that without being bothered ! He surely could get used to that. Except that by trying to take advantage of the situation, he asks for a cleaning assistant. However, by playing smart with his superior, the detective finds the company of Hafez al-Assad in spite of himself.

This Syrian migrant with a troubled and enigmatic past seems to have mysteriously been nominated for the post at the Department V, and shows a strong interest in meddling with the cold cases his boss, Mørck, is supposed to take care of. The case that catches his eye ? The Merete Lyyngard one.

Is it possible that there are still some clues to find ? A lead to follow ? Against all odds, it seems that it is.


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