While ostensibly a murder mystery in the small Swedish town in which the Anders Knutas series is located, the theme running through the novel is the effect of a mother’s attitudes on her children, and the detective’s relationship with his son. The mystery concerns who killed event planner Viktor Algard with poison the night of the successful party opening a new conference center.
Initially, the question which arose was whether the murderer could have been someone who objected to the construction of the building. Then news that Viktor took on a new lover and told his wife he wanted a divorce results in additional suspects. First, of course, is the wife. Then when it was learned that the drink containing the poison was intended for the mistress, suspicion fell on her when she conveniently gave the glass to Viktor when she went to the ladies room.
Knutas has his work cut out for him, as he tries to discover the truth of a mixed-up family and their attitude toward the mistress, and face his own problems with his son. It is an interesting juxtaposition in a tight plot which moves forward at a rapid pace.