Norwegian writer K. O. Dahl’s fifth entry in his Oslo detective series (and the first to be published in the U.S.) is a bit of an aughts throwback, but well worth catching up with for those partial to Scandinavian police procedurals. In The Fourth Man, Detective Inspector Frank Frølich, otherwise a pretty smart guy, falls under the spell of the raven-haired, sapphire-eyed Elisabeth Faremo, a classic femme fatale. They meet cute during a police raid at a store, where she’s been coolly filching cigarettes amid the bullets and chaos, which intrigues him. One thing leads to another and he ends up in thrall to her, discounting some screamingly obvious danger signals—her brother is a known gangster with ties to a recent murder, she’s a thief and has a full-time female lover … the list goes on. As Frølich’s crusty, un-P.C. boss says prior to suspending the poor sap for his involvement with the relative of a suspect, “There’s something not quite kosher about this bit of skirt.”
Unfazed, Frølich rationalizes everything and starts his own investigation into the murder, taking a hard look at a sketchy, art-loving financier who was once robbed by the brother’s gang. Meanwhile, the pretty bird has flown.