>Fischer´s Formula

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Else Fischer, Hvorfor døde Anette (1959).

Instead of posting an ordinary review of this crime novel (one of my bargains of last week), I will try to review Else Fischer´s authorship. Several of her crime novels for adults were published even before I was born so the ten or so that I own have all been bought second-hand. They have not been translated into English, and she died in 1976.

On the whole, I like her Danish ´puzzles´, but they have one ´flaw´ in common: Fischer tends to follow a formula which is far too easy to recognize when you have read a few of them.

The main character is a young girl, usually very pretty, who visits or moves to a new environment. She gets caught up in something which seems to be suicide or an accident, and for some reason she lies about her name, her movements or her past (white lies which don´t seem to matter). Later it is clear that a murder has been committed, the police are involved, and our young girl is not really able to get out of her lies (often because she feels she must protect a brother or male friend, or something happens to interrupt her confession to the police).

Other common tricks are the girl lending her coat and scarf to another girl (who is attacked by the murderer soon after), the girl wanting to get in touch with an important witness (who is invariably killed before she has a chance to speak to him) etc.

The other female characters may seem friendly in the beginning, but later they are suspicious or jealous of our damsel in distress. The three-four young men all seem to be interested in her, but usually one of them is the murderer, one just wants to worm secrets out of her, and only one is genuinely interested in her and tries to save her.

And the environment: either a remote cottage or an ordinary (large) family house which is at some point isolated because of storm, snow, or a power cut.

So why read Else Fischer at all? Well, each story is entertaining enough – and you never know exactly who the murderer is.

Have you come across other crime authors who tend to use a formula?

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
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