The Quarry is the third of Johan Theorin’s dark novels set on Öland, an island off the coast of Sweden. The Quarry is more of a traditional mystery than my favorite of these novels, The Darkest Room, but it does have uncanny overtones.
Gerloff is an old man who has talked his family into releasing him from a retirement home so that he can return to his cottage in Stenvik near the quarry. Nearby, in the house that belonged to his friend Ernst, is Per Mörner, who inherited the house from Ernst.
Per has just had a run-in with another neighbor, Max Larsson, who almost hit Per’s son Jesper with his car. But Per has much more to worry about. His 13-year-old daughter Nilla is in the hospital with an aggressive cancer.
Per is trying to visit the hospital, but his father Jerry keeps calling him. Although Per has kept his distance from his father, who is a notorious pornographer, he has had to help him sometimes lately since he had a stroke. Jerry has difficulty talking and no use of one arm. When Per finds his father at his studio, he has been stabbed. Upstairs the house is on fire, and he realizes there are people in the rooms that he can’t get to. He is just able to get his father and himself out and thinks he sees a man leave the property.
The police find two bodies in the house—that of Hans Bremer, Jerry’s partner, and a woman. When Per asks Jerry who stabbed him, he answers “Bremer,” which doesn’t seem possible as Bremer died upstairs in the fire. Soon, both Jerry and Per begin receiving anonymous phone calls.
As new neighbors, Max and Vendela Larsson decide to throw a party for the little enclave above the quarry. Vendela is actually a local girl whose family held some secrets, one to do with the quarry.
The mystery concerns why someone is going after people associated with Jerry’s old porn business, which Per begins to investigate. But the diaries Gerloff’s wife left behind also help solve a mystery about Vendela’s family.
If you decide to read any of Theorin’s novels, I think you’ll find them difficult to put down. He has a way of building atmosphere around the history and landscape of the island, and his characters are interesting. These novels are worth searching out.