Having visited Argentina en route to Antarctica, I was fascinated by the country. Consequently I’m delighted to be featuring a guest post about Argentina by Liselotte Roll, author of Good Girls Don’t Tell as part of the launch celebrations for the book. Good Girls Don’t Tell was published by World Editions on 17th November and was translated by Ian Giles. It is available for purchase here.
Good Girls Don’t Tell
When Erik Berggren, a man with learning disabilities is found mutilated and brutally murdered Inspector Magnus Kalo and his team are mystified. Other than being an alcoholic, the victim seems to have led a completely normal, if rather lonely, life.
Then Erik’s mother is viciously attacked in a similar way. Investigating family secrets that stretch back decades and a trail that leads to to the Argentinian military Junta’s reign of terror Magnus realises that someone is stalking him and his own family. His wife, Linn, a therapist, offers her own insights into the case until she too is attacked.
As the Swedish winter draws in clues seem to disappear under the falling snow. It’s clear that Magnus is on the trail of a master manipulator with a brutal mission…
Argentina and Me
A Guest Post by Liselotte Roll
The earth is dry and red, with harsh mountains and here and there and clusters of huge cactus plants. Once in a while you’ll see rattlesnakes sunbathing on top of the sun heated rocks.
Prior to my work as a news reporter and scriptwriter for a kids show in public radio I worked as an archaeologist. It was during that time, in the late 90’s that I visited Argentina and La Rioja, a medium size city embedded in the Pre-Andees. I was part of a pre-Incan excavation, looking for the remains of the locally called ‘Leopard people’. The country and its generous people made quite an impression on me. I was young and travelled by myself so I had to reflect on everything on my own, since there was no travel companion to bounce off my thoughts with, maybe that’s why I remember everything so well.
Initially I stayed at a self-proclaimed Shaman woman who had an altar of Marilyn Monroe in her hallway and a dog kennel in her house. I thought it was quite interesting and exotic, but my colleagues at the Patrimonial Cultural were concerned. They argued that her house wasn´t clean enough (the dogs had some accidents) and that the woman was obviously mad. Eventually a colleague of mine invited me to stay at her house instead, and we became good friends and indeed still are.
My friend told me stories about the military junta and took me to a cemetery where young men who had died during the military regime were exposed in glass coffins, to always be remembered. It was emotional and I think that’s why ten years later I came to write Good Girls Don´t Tell. And small pieces of my life melted together in this story.
Argentina has a sad history, but the people are still able to enjoy life in a way that Swedish people usually don’t. Maybe it’s the hot weather, maybe it’s because they have learnt to appreciate what they have, knowing that all can be lost? In Sweden we close our doors in the late fall and don’t come out until the light and warmth comes back, usually six months later, so we are not a very social people.
Argentina and Sweden are different in many ways, but my characters seemed to move themselves easily over the borders, both geographically and emotionally. It really didn’t matter if they were in a snowy Sweden or struck by a heat wave in La Rioja, they did what they were destined to do. My main characters, Linn, who is a smart therapist and her husband Magnus, who is a kind but somewhat slow minded cop, have to protect themselves and their two little daughters from a very conniving and savage murderer, who likes to scald his victims, and the tracks went back to the military regime in Argentina.
When I get a story in my mind it usually rolls along by itself. It´s more or less like watching a movie, with the exception that I can go back and change parts I don´t like afterwards. I really loved writing this scary story, hopefully you will like it too … and hopefully I will frighten you.
About Liselotte Roll
Liselotte Roll lives with her family near Stockholm. While studying Archaeology, she lived and worked in Argentina, where she witnessed at first hand how the military junta’s reign of terror was still affecting the lives of Argentinians. This experience led to her debut novel Good Girls Don’t Tell.
Liselotte Roll has been compared to crime writers such as Camilla Läckberg, Liza Marklund, Sara Blaedel and Karin Slaughter. Her work has been translated into eight languages.
About Ian Giles
Ian Giles currently divides his time (often unequally) between translation and his doctoral research at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He also sits on the managing committee of the Swedish-English Literary Translators’ Association. He has translated a wide range of Scandinavian works for publication or performance, including August Strindberg’s Dance of Death. In 2015, Ian was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger for his translation of Andreas Norman’s Into A Raging Blaze.
You can find Ian on Twitter.
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