Pestön – The Plague Island

By Marie Hermanson

Gothenburg 1925. Chief detective Nils Gunnarsson is called to the shantytown of the lawless aggressors. Among the ram shackled barracks at the creek there’s a dead man who the aggressors have saved from the water. The unknown man leads Gunnarsson on a hunt, first to the fancier parts of town and thereafter to the notorious Plague Island. The island previously worked as an isolation station, where sailors were kept isolated to not spread diseases. But what’s going on there now? And who is the man who is kept prisoner on the island? To solve the enigma Gunnarsson once again gets help from the forward Ellen Grönblad.

The Plague Island is a historical novel set in Gothenburg and a stand-alone continuation of Marie Hermanson’s latest novel, The Great Exhibition. In the lead roles we find the policeman Nils Gunnarsson and the journalist Ellen Grönblad.

First published by Albert Bonniers förlag, Sweden.

It is the prelude to an extremely exciting and well-written story which, despite containing breathtaking, slightly surreal scenes, feels completely believable. A stand-alone sequel to the novel “The Great Exhibition”.
Ingalill Mosander, Aftonbladet

At the same time “Plague Island” is an adventure novel with its mix of suspense, betrayal, righteousness and surprises. […] It’s a stylishly executed story and you have a pleasant time in the author’s company. In short, it’s like Hermanson is in the 1920’s and describes the time and people from there.
NSD (Norrländska Socialdemokraten)

Ever since Marie Hermanson made her literary debut in 1986 with the short story collection ”There’s a Hole in Reality” there has been a magical dimension in her stories. The existence that is portrayed is enigmatic and in some meaning fantastic. […] ”Plague Island” is written with bloody seriousness but also with the glimpse in the eye. It’s the closest Hermanson ever gotten to a pure crime novel and could very well be nominated for – maybe even win – the Swedish Academy for Crime Fiction’s prize for best Swedish crime novel. […] the character portrayals are more nuanced and complex than they usually are in crime novels. At the same time ”Plague Island” is thrilling like a crime novel of top quality. The last 100 pages I read at a stretch […]

Marie Hermanson is a fantastic storyteller. When she introduces herself as an author it’s as a storyteller who doesn’t really belong in any genre. The category I want to place her in is as the queen of qualitative entertainment literature in Sweden. If more authors would be able to combine literary quality with joy of storytelling like Marie Hermanson does, literature might be able to give the tv series on Netflix a tougher match.
Sundsvalls Tidning

I love cruel despots who rule over an entire island with an iron fist! I love islands with prison-like hospitals that make me think of Shutter Island! I love the time the book takes place, and Ellen herself is amazing! I already thought in the first book that she is as charming as Sickan Carlsson. Pestön is both a delightfully cozy and terribly exciting book!
-@feelbadbibliotekarien, Stockholms Stadsbibliotek

The novel is charming in many ways. Here is the thrilling crime mystery and the light atmosphere of budding love. The language is simple and easy to read and the environmental descriptions are good. The slightly humorous tone, despite the seriousness of the subject, reinforces the enjoyable impression. Pestön has the potential to be liked.

Czech republic, Jota Nakladatelstvi
Germany, Suhrkamp Verlag
Italy, Guanda
Russia, Eksmo
Sweden, Albert Bonniers

Nominated for the Best Swedish Crime Novel 2021, Swedish Academy of Crime Fiction