In 1998 Helene Tursten, along with Liza Marklund — the winner that year — and Inger Frimansson, was shortlisted for the Poloni Prize (magazine Jury's annual award to the best female author of detective fiction in Swedish).

A nurse turned dentist, Tursten (born 1954) was pensioned off at the age of thirty nine after developing a chronic rheumatic disorder. Although brought up in Gothenburg, like more than one well-known name in Swedish fiction, Tursten has links with Sunne in Värmland, where she now lives. Like Åke Edwardson, however, Helene Tursten sets her novels in Gothenburg, although Irene's investigations in Tatuerad torso (Tattooed Torso) take her to Copenhagen.

Since her debut novel, Tursten has published two more novels about police officer Irene Huss, a wife and mother in her forties. "I didn't want to write about some whisky-drinking loner... I really don't like it when the female leads in detective fiction always have to behave like their male predecessors. Boozing, swearing and bonking..." (Tursten in "Deckarna föds på promenaden", Anne Johansson, Göteborgs-Posten, 19 September 1999, p.52.)

We present Tom Ellett's translation of an extract from Tatuerad torso (Tattooed Torso).