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Lying at the bottom of his apartment stairs, a postman is found dead. At first glance, his death appears to be a simple fall, a straightforward accident and the perfect case for Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen to return to after a severe heart attack. But when he is called to investigate, new forensic evidence comes to light and something doesn't add up. Did Lying at the bottom of his apartment stairs, a postman is found dead. At first glance, his death appears to be a simple fall, a straightforward accident and the perfect case for Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen to return to after a severe heart attack. But when he is called to investigate, new forensic evidence comes to light and something doesn't add up. Did the postman fall or was he pushed? When life-size images of a girl are discovered plastering the walls of the dead man's attic, the case takes a new and sinister turn. Who is she? Could she be alive? Soon the homicide team find themselves delving into the past, but as they approach the truth, Simonsen discovers long-hidden skeletons in his own closet.


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Lying at the bottom of his apartment stairs, a postman is found dead. At first glance, his death appears to be a simple fall, a straightforward accident and the perfect case for Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen to return to after a severe heart attack. But when he is called to investigate, new forensic evidence comes to light and something doesn't add up. Did Lying at the bottom of his apartment stairs, a postman is found dead. At first glance, his death appears to be a simple fall, a straightforward accident and the perfect case for Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen to return to after a severe heart attack. But when he is called to investigate, new forensic evidence comes to light and something doesn't add up. Did the postman fall or was he pushed? When life-size images of a girl are discovered plastering the walls of the dead man's attic, the case takes a new and sinister turn. Who is she? Could she be alive? Soon the homicide team find themselves delving into the past, but as they approach the truth, Simonsen discovers long-hidden skeletons in his own closet.

30 review for The Vanished

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    In the third novel in their Konrad Simonsen series, Søren and Lotte Hammer offer the reader a deeper look at the protagonist while he delves into a crime that spans decades. Having recently returned from a heart attack, Simonsen is no longer in charge of the Criminal Division or the team he guided for years. Instead, he is directed to look into a potential crime scene involving a postal worker, who was found at the bottom of the outside stairs on the second floor of his home. What was originally In the third novel in their Konrad Simonsen series, Søren and Lotte Hammer offer the reader a deeper look at the protagonist while he delves into a crime that spans decades. Having recently returned from a heart attack, Simonsen is no longer in charge of the Criminal Division or the team he guided for years. Instead, he is directed to look into a potential crime scene involving a postal worker, who was found at the bottom of the outside stairs on the second floor of his home. What was originally deemed and accidental fall has Simonsen questioning the determination of the police and forensic authorities. As he looks into the man's past, Simonsen discovers clues to a missing girl from the late 1960s, who left Liverpool and made her way into Denmark. With little on which to go, Simonsen and his team begin exploring the possibilities, which reveals a Group of Six students attending school together, calling themselves the Lonely Hearts. Could these six have played some role in the disappearance (and potential murder) of the English girl? Subsequently, could someone have broken a pact and killed the one member whose guilt became too much? As the case progresses, living more in the age of Flower Power than current criminal activity, Simonsen has flashbacks to the life he lived in the same era, and a love interest whose dealings with the law plagued him for a long time. As he tries to wrestle with that series of feelings and events, Simonsen must look the present to determine if a handful of fifty-somethings came recollect meeting a girl one summer and what might have happened that pushed them over the edge, turning Lonely Hearts into cold-blooded killers. An interesting crime thriller allows the Hammer siblings to spin a tale that has criminal elements and much backstory for the protagonist through to the final page. While I am no expert on Scandinavian crime thrillers or literature in general, I have a handful of authors from the region with which I am familiar and can compare their works to that of Søren and Lotte Hammer. I find the Hammers' work to be much more dense and harder to digest, though there could be something about the translation from the Danish that impedes the flow of the story. That said, with much longer chapters and a tendency to push into the more minute details and expand on them, the novel can, from time to time, move into the realm of overdone and somewhat too much for the intended purpose. I know I have mentioned in past reviews of the authors that it seems they take longer to get back to the point and tie up loose ends, the the premises of their novels is strong and the characters are well-developed. Simonsen does have some parallels to those detectives from the aforementioned other Scandinavian thrillers, though this novel ties him up on so many personal levels that it is harder for the reader to leave feeling a sense of a strong connection to the man, but rather a sense that the past and present are overloaded and leave everyone feeling a tad raw. The Hammer siblings are wonderful storytellers, though their delivery could, for some readers, cause a less than celebratory mood as one wades through the text in search for a powerful mystery. Kudos, Hammer siblings for the strong foundation. While one might call it something lost in translation, I cannot help but feel it is more a case of too much in a single book. I cannot wait to get my hands on the three novels that have yet to make it into English. Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

    I can't decide between 3.5 or 4 so I'll give it a 4. Detective Superintendent Konrad Simonsen, who has returned to work after a heart attack, is still recuperating. He's given a cold case to investigate. Was a postman found dead at the bottom of a staircase the victim of an accident, or was he murdered? When life-size photos of a mystery girl are discovered in the dead man's attic, the police must delve into the past to discover the truth. The Vanished is a meticulous and skilfully crafted police I can't decide between 3.5 or 4 so I'll give it a 4. Detective Superintendent Konrad Simonsen, who has returned to work after a heart attack, is still recuperating. He's given a cold case to investigate. Was a postman found dead at the bottom of a staircase the victim of an accident, or was he murdered? When life-size photos of a mystery girl are discovered in the dead man's attic, the police must delve into the past to discover the truth. The Vanished is a meticulous and skilfully crafted police procedural, which explores the danger of the new-found freedoms of the 1960s. This book was a very well written novel. At times the content drifts off to more mundane parts about the main character's current private life and past life that seem tedious and not apparently connected to the investigation. But all in all this is a good read if you are into crime novels or mystery novels. I would defiantly recommend (: * I received this copy in exchange for a honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    BrianC75

    A well written intelligent Nordic whodunnit. Interweaves several plot lines and does so with style. Characterisation somewhat cliched and book overlong. Would read these authors again.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    Well all I can say is 'what a snoreie zzzzzzzzz), slow, yawning, enjoyed the first few pages then slowed right down, is it the translation ? don't know but at least gave it a go and was free from the library.

  5. 5 out of 5

    John Brooke

    This is the third book in the Konrad Simonsen series, by Danish brother/sister writing team Lotte and Soren Hammer. I enjoyed the first - The Hanging, reviewed in this space. I missed the second – The Girl in the Ice, but I will seek it out. As noted in my first review, I am wary of writing “teams”, but the Hammers helped me overcome this with a combined voice I found to be dry but also very funny at the most surprising junctures. In The Vanished, the humorous element is replaced by a more musing This is the third book in the Konrad Simonsen series, by Danish brother/sister writing team Lotte and Soren Hammer. I enjoyed the first - The Hanging, reviewed in this space. I missed the second – The Girl in the Ice, but I will seek it out. As noted in my first review, I am wary of writing “teams”, but the Hammers helped me overcome this with a combined voice I found to be dry but also very funny at the most surprising junctures. In The Vanished, the humorous element is replaced by a more musing, philosophical voice. This shift reflects an ageing, almost retired, head of the homicide team, recently felled by a heart attack from stress and careless living. Detective Superintendent Konrad Simonsen is trying to slowly ease back into his role as the story opens. Instead of getting straight back into a serious murder investigation, Simonsen’s second-in-command Arne Pedersen, who has been acting as Super, assigns him the mostly bureaucratic task of collecting and confirming the details of an apparent accidental death – a broken neck caused by a fall down some stairs. The victim is a postman, who turns out to have been a complete loner. And who converted to the Catholic church. More in-depth forensics lead Simonsen to believe there may have been foul play. And a deeper look into that possibility brings to light the possibility that the dead postman was also involved in a very disturbing incident. Simonsen ends up chasing the ghost of a long-missing British girl who was traveling in Denmark in the late 60’s, the era of free love, drugs and social alienation, etc. Also time of much personal upheaval for a now senior cop. Despite fragile health, Konrad Simonsen remains an irascible, deeply intuitive cop who has trouble communicating the most important things to those trying to help him. He is surrounded by interesting supporting characters. First among them is the Countess, a senior detective who happens to come from Denmark’s nobility. She and “Simon” are now in the first stages of living together, though they both hold to their own ground professionally. The young and volatile, and now PTSD-damaged, Inspector Pauline Berg adds emotional frisson. The unnamed Deputy Commissioner brings matronly charm and gentle humor. (What happened to Inspector Poul Trouson, source of the mordant humor I so much enjoyed in The Hanging? …Another reason to read the second book in this series.) But the dynamic informing this investigation is completely different from the first book, and therefore so is the tone of the story. To the authors’ credit. Some crime writers tend to repeat themselves. At the heart of it, and what makes this crime novel fascinating, is Simonsen’s ongoing dialogue with the priest who was the dead postman’s confessor. There are not so many Catholics in Denmark; our cop is not sure how to approach a priest. The priest is smart. Polite and engaging though he may be, he knows how to use the Church’s shield of immunity in guarding the postman’s most intimate revelations – and yet provide a perceptive cop with useful information. Can Simonsen hear rightly? The crux of this investigation is in the space between the cop and the priest. And it’s done perfectly. 4 stars. I wish the dark-funny element was still at play. But in The Vanished, the Hammers go to a different, deeper societal place. Well worth the slower, more contemplative pace.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    I can't decide whether the slightly uneven way the book progresses is due to its having two authors or not. It is a bit slow in places, althou th I rather like all the incidental detail. The story is a bit strange: the team, now not led by Konrad Simonsen who is recuperating from a heart attack and has just returned, investigates what was originally thought to be an accidental death. Enquiries reveal a hidden loft with a series of pictures of a girl who disappeared in 1969, and that case toois i I can't decide whether the slightly uneven way the book progresses is due to its having two authors or not. It is a bit slow in places, althou th I rather like all the incidental detail. The story is a bit strange: the team, now not led by Konrad Simonsen who is recuperating from a heart attack and has just returned, investigates what was originally thought to be an accidental death. Enquiries reveal a hidden loft with a series of pictures of a girl who disappeared in 1969, and that case toois investigated by the team. Both are eventually solved, with Konrad also reliving some of his own past and discoverong what happened to his girlfriend from the time (and clearing his conscience about something he did). The opening however is a description of a school shooting, which produces a connection to the accidental death and some thoughts about where social exclusion might lead people, but also contributes, for me at least, to the feeling of unevenness, as this dramatic event is lost sight of and only remembered later on for purposes of drawing a moral. In fact there is quite a lot of reflective moralising (the episode in which the fifty-somethings are made to dig up the skeleton is strange, but presumably meant to be some sort of restitution). Not entirely comfortable with the psychic woman consultant, either. Not a bad book, though!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mitch S.

    It's an okay story but I was turned off by the silly Easter Egg references to The Beatles Sgt Pepper album scattered out in the open like a child's hidden object game. Rita? Lucy ? Her parents wondering why she left home " to meet a man from the motot trade" after they gave her "everything money could buy".....a priest actually says something like "I heard the English army had just won the war", a social group called the Lonely Hearts, etc etc...made a mockery of being a serious detective fictio It's an okay story but I was turned off by the silly Easter Egg references to The Beatles Sgt Pepper album scattered out in the open like a child's hidden object game. Rita? Lucy ? Her parents wondering why she left home " to meet a man from the motot trade" after they gave her "everything money could buy".....a priest actually says something like "I heard the English army had just won the war", a social group called the Lonely Hearts, etc etc...made a mockery of being a serious detective fiction for me

  8. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Barker

    Loved this book even though I had never read any other book in the series. Maybe because it is a Danish (?) to English translation, reading it has the same feel and quality as the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Very good read!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Hannah

    Sounded a good book, just seamed slow after a while, did get better near the end

  10. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    There's a good story here but it needs editing and dear god a better translation/translator.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    I read the print version, excellent mystery and much better English translation than in the first book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shantel Poland

    Couldn’t even finish this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    3.5 stars. Thumbs up for the new guy. Thumbs down for Pauline.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    Slow, meticulous, meandering, and satisfying.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Penttinen

    I’ve read a couple of books from these authors and those books have been good. This one wasn’t my personal favourite at all. I enjoyed the last 50 pages and that’s pretty much it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Richard Pierce

    Bit disappointing, in truth, but riveting. Not sure the translation is that great. Average.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jan Stone

    A bit confusing if you have read the previous books.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Renita D'Silva

    Thrilling and tense

  19. 5 out of 5

    Emmi

    Got almost half way, seriously nothing happens and never gets interesting. Wish I had abandoned this sooner.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Diana Wallenstein

    Dragged on for too long and the main character's many idiosyncrasies become tiresome.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brucie

    Completely satisfying thriller with persevering police procedure, quirky characters, murky plot, vivid locations, and amusing application of science and luck. Wonderfully captivating writing.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Liz Gallagher

    # 3 in the series. Looking forward to reading #1 and # 2. Love this Scandinavian authors.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    With my fascination with Scandinavian mysteries, this book hit the spot. A postman is found dead at the foot of his stairs. Is this a murder or an accident. Once its decided that it's murder, who did it? And is there another murder that preceded this one? The book moves at a rapid pace, interesting policeman, interesting procedure to get to the answer. BUT there's an early premise that I never bought - will not identify because I don't want to be a "spoiler." However, there is something about th With my fascination with Scandinavian mysteries, this book hit the spot. A postman is found dead at the foot of his stairs. Is this a murder or an accident. Once its decided that it's murder, who did it? And is there another murder that preceded this one? The book moves at a rapid pace, interesting policeman, interesting procedure to get to the answer. BUT there's an early premise that I never bought - will not identify because I don't want to be a "spoiler." However, there is something about the history of the teenagers (now adults) that just didn't hold true for me that somewhat spoiled the story for me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    3.5 stars. The low rating is only because of the slow moving plot. I'm glad I stuck with it and finished this Scandinavian mystery which involves a man who's fallen down his stairs and died and a cold case from many years ago. I have not read any of the other books in this series written by a brother and sister but now I will. Recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shari C

    I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. This is one of the best books I have read in a while! Well thought out story line that is both complex and interesting. Well written with great character development, and made me really feel connected to the main people. The only bad thing I can say is that I won this not realizing it is book 3 in the series :( Thankfully, it reads well as a stand alone book, although I will be getting a copy of the first two as soon as I can. Some reviewers have commented I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. This is one of the best books I have read in a while! Well thought out story line that is both complex and interesting. Well written with great character development, and made me really feel connected to the main people. The only bad thing I can say is that I won this not realizing it is book 3 in the series :( Thankfully, it reads well as a stand alone book, although I will be getting a copy of the first two as soon as I can. Some reviewers have commented about the writing being difficult. This is not an afternoon snack like most mass market, easy to read, best-sellers with poorly developed characters and no plot. If that is the kind of book you are looking for, then keep moving, because this isn't a book for you. I couldn't put it down, although it took me a few days to get through, I loved all the twists and turns, and the ending. Bravo!

  26. 4 out of 5

    William Koon

    The Vanished by Lotte and Soren Hammer is a mess. Too many plot lines lead nowhere in a translation that is pedestrian at best. The crusty and crotchety old Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen is a throwaway character as is his mistress and his daughter. In fact, there is not one single interesting character in the whole non-thriller. OK. Here’s the plot: a long time ago some crazy teen aged Danes took off their knickers, and a Down syndrome man killed a tourist. It’s one of those “I’ The Vanished by Lotte and Soren Hammer is a mess. Too many plot lines lead nowhere in a translation that is pedestrian at best. The crusty and crotchety old Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen is a throwaway character as is his mistress and his daughter. In fact, there is not one single interesting character in the whole non-thriller. OK. Here’s the plot: a long time ago some crazy teen aged Danes took off their knickers, and a Down syndrome man killed a tourist. It’s one of those “I’ve got to know” things which hinges on intrusive plot devices. But there wasn’t much to know or care about. In distant memory, I recall someone made a parody of all Ingmar Bergman films wherein the characters incorporated every cliché in the cinematic cannon. This work does not even rise to cliché.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    In Denmark, two murder cases, one decades ago and one days ago, appear to be linked. It takes many months for the police to solve it and it seems like the book takes that long in real life to get to the conclusion. The police must be seriously understaffed -- or not have many real crimes to solve -- if these two cases take up so much time of so many detectives. The lead detective keeps flashing back to his girlfriend in the 1960s and then snaps back to dealing with his current lover, always call In Denmark, two murder cases, one decades ago and one days ago, appear to be linked. It takes many months for the police to solve it and it seems like the book takes that long in real life to get to the conclusion. The police must be seriously understaffed -- or not have many real crimes to solve -- if these two cases take up so much time of so many detectives. The lead detective keeps flashing back to his girlfriend in the 1960s and then snaps back to dealing with his current lover, always called The Countess for unexplained reasons, his daughter, and his PTSD stricken partner Pauline. Yeesh. It's not a bad book, but it's definitely not the thriller it was advertised to be. 3.5 stars

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kay Wright

    Great Danish police procedural. The main character heads Copenhagen homicide division with the usual assortment of co-workers. A simple case for a recuperating cop becomes a complicated case when pictures of a beautiful girl are found in a secret attic above the dead mans apartment. Two deaths years apart, a strange crew investigating. One thing that's lovely about wealthy Denmark; when the police need something, they get it. None of the constant carping about overtime most American police are c Great Danish police procedural. The main character heads Copenhagen homicide division with the usual assortment of co-workers. A simple case for a recuperating cop becomes a complicated case when pictures of a beautiful girl are found in a secret attic above the dead mans apartment. Two deaths years apart, a strange crew investigating. One thing that's lovely about wealthy Denmark; when the police need something, they get it. None of the constant carping about overtime most American police are constrained by. The solution is simple but satisfying, the book long but worth the read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stacia

    It's difficult for me to review and rate this view because the ebook I read was so badly formatted that I don't know if the fault was in the translation, the editing, or the book's layout--there was no visual cue for scene breaks, which made things very confusing to me while I read it. I did enjoy the book, though, and almost gave it a fourth star for the closing paragraph alone, which was lovely.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sharron

    I haven't read the two earlier titles in this series which may have influenced my assessment of this title. Overall, it was entertaining but like so many mysteries these days it was at least 100 pages longer than necessary. all of the unnecessary background and irrelevant details slowed the narrative flow to the point where I nearly tossed the book aside on several occasions. I don't regret persevering with it but I will think long and hard about reading another by these authors.

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