How did a lonely, quiet woman come to kill a man—or did she?
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.
The Whisperer shifts between Inspector Sejer’s interrogation of Ragna and the shocking events that led up to her arrest. Sejer thinks it is an open-and-shut case, but is it? Compelling and unnerving, The Whisperer probes plausible madness in everyday life and asks us to question assumptions even in its final moments.
This story had me intrigued from word one. For at least half of it, I had no idea where the story might be going but I certainly wanted to find out. As Detective Sejer questions Ragna over a period of days, her story begins to be revealed. At first glance, she appears to be just an ordinary person who lives alone, goes to work and is very introverted. But then things start to get weird. Ragna becomes convinced that she is being stalked and it certainly seems to be true, but is it? This is very much a psychological thriller which takes you deep into the mind of abnormal psychology. Ragna is a character that I couldn’t help feeling sorry for because of her disability but at the same time I was suspicious of her. I also really enjoyed the calm and almost sedate style of Detective Sejer. He skilfully gains her trust and draws her out of her shell. The winter in Norway setting added to the thrill and mystery of the story. This is one I thoroughly enjoyed and would definitely recommend.
Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.