Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

The Devil’s Wedding Ring

2017
Author:

Vidar Sundstøl
Translated by Tiina Nunnally

The Devil’s Wedding Ring

A mysterious disappearance at a 13th-century church in his native Norway draws detective Max Fjellanger into an old case—and a world of ancient ritual, superstition, and present-day danger

After a mysterious disappearance, private investigator Max Fjellanger is plunged into a menacing world of ghostly monks, severed pigs’ heads, and mythic rites, all somehow connected to Midsummer Eve, which is fast approaching. This is award-winning crime novelist Vidar Sundstøl at his best, spinning a tale that is taut with suspense and steeped in Norwegian culture, past and present.

On Midsummer Eve in 1985, a young folklore researcher disappears from the village of Eidsborg in the Telemark region of Norway. Exactly thirty years later, the student Cecilie Wiborg goes missing. She too had been researching the old, pagan rituals associated with the 13th-century Eidsborg stave church. And then Knut Abrahamsen, a former police officer from the area, is found drowned in the nearby Tokke River, a presumed suicide since his pockets were filled with stones.

Hearing of the death of his former colleague and friend, private investigator Max Fjellanger feels compelled to leave his long-time home in Florida and return to his native Norway to attend Knut’s funeral. Even though they haven’t spoken in more than three decades, Max is not convinced that Knut killed himself. There are details about the circumstances of his death that just don’t add up. And there seems to be a link to the case of the missing researcher in Telemark, which the two of them had worked together—until threats from a corrupt sheriff put an end to the investigation and to Max’s career on the police force.

This time Max is determined to find out the truth. Reluctantly he finds himself drawn into a dark universe in which ancient superstitions, religious cults, and sinister forces are still very much alive. And the stave church, with its famed wooden statue of Saint Nikuls, is at the center of it all.

Finding an unlikely partner in Tirill Vesterli—a university librarian and single mother who is obsessed with crime novels—Max is plunged into a menacing world of ghostly monks, severed pigs’ heads, and mythic rites, all somehow connected to Midsummer Eve, which is fast approaching. As Max and Tirill quickly learn, it’s a misconception that the past is past—the truth is that it’s never over.

This is award-winning crime novelist Vidar Sundstøl at his best, spinning a tale that is taut with suspense and steeped in Norwegian culture, past and present.

The Devil’s Wedding Ring

Vidar Sundstøl won the prestigious Riverton Prize for the Best Norwegian Crime Novel for The Land of Dreams, the first volume of his acclaimed Minnesota trilogy, published in the United States by the University of Minnesota Press. The other two volumes are Only the Dead and The Ravens. Sundstøl has lived in the United States and Egypt, and now resides with his family in Telemark, the setting for The Devil’s Wedding Ring.

Tiina Nunnally is an award-winning literary translator. She was appointed Knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for her contributions to Norwegian literature in the United States.

The Devil’s Wedding Ring