Review: Jussi Adler-Olsen returns with ‘Scarred Woman’

Jonathan Elderfield
Associated Press

Who is “The Scarred Woman”? That’s a question you’ll ask yourself as you read Jussi Adler-Olsen’s latest mystery.

Department Q, Copenhagen’s cold case squad led by Detective Carl Morck, has its hands full with a fresh murder that happens to resemble an unsolved killing from more than 10 years ago. In the new case, an elderly woman has been hit over the head in King’s Garden. Concurrent with the investigation, Rose, one of Morck’s colleagues, seems to have seriously gone off the rails. When we first meet her, she cannot remember the way to work on her scooter.

And if two cases (one cold and one hot) weren’t enough for Department Q to deal with, it seems that a maniac is intent on committing acts of vehicular homicide on a group of young, out-of-work women.

Is Rose the scarred woman? Is it a bland social servant who decides to go on a killing spree and researches the best way to carry out her murders by looking on the internet? Or could it be the elderly victim or even one of the unemployed young women?

Adler-Olsen clearly has a sense of humor. There are moments throughout the novel when Morck’s workmate, Assad, uses idioms imperfectly and Carl repeatedly corrects him. Assad’s errors and Morck’s fixes add lightness and comedy to the otherwise murderous proceedings.

You’ll be desperate to figure out the identity of the scarred woman as the suspense drives toward a deadly and at times comical conclusion. Just remember, scars aren’t always only skin deep.

‘The Scarred


by Jussi Adler-Olsen



Best-selling books

For the week ending Sept. 17:

Hardcover Fiction

1. “A Column of Fire” by Ken Follett (Viking)

2. “The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye” by David Lagercrantz (Knopf)

3. “The Romanov Ransom” by Cussler/Burcell (Putnam)

4. “Enemy of the State” by Kyle Mills (Atria/Bestler)

5. “Secrets in Death” by J.D. Robb (St. Martin’s)

6. “A Legacy of Spies” by John Le Carre (Viking)

7. “Enigma” by Catherine Coulter (Gallery)

8. “The Right Time” by Danielle Steel (Delacorte)

9. “Y Is for Yesterday” by Sue Grafton (Putnam/Wood)

10. “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press)

11. “Camino Island” by John Grisham (Doubleday)

12. “Glass Houses” by Louise Penny (Minotaur)

13. “Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate (Ballantine)

14. “The Store” by Patterson/DiLallo (Little, Brown)

15. “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles (Viking)

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. “What Happened” by Hillary Rodham Clinton (Simon & Schuster)

2. “Braving the Wilderness” by Brene Brown (Random House)

3. “Unbelievable” by Katy Tur (Dey Street)

4. “Anxious for Nothing” by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson)

5. “F*ck, That’s Delicous” by Action Bronson (Abrams)

6. “The Four Tendencies” by Gretchen Rubin (Harmony)

7. “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson (HarperOne)

8. “Finish” by Jon Acuff (Portfolio)

9. “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson (Norton)

10. “Make Your Bed” by William H. McRaven (Grand Central Publishing)

11. “The End of Alzheimer’s” by Dale E. Bredesen (Avery)

12. “Half Baked Harvest Cookbook” by Tieghan Gerard (Clarkson Potter)

13. “Unstoppable” by Maria Sharapova (FSG/Crichton)

14. “Fantasyland” by Kurt Anderson (Random House)

15. “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate” by Al Franken (Twelve)