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Cover image for The boy in the suitcase
The boy in the suitcase
Uniform Title:
Drengen i kufferten. English



Publication Information:
New York : Soho Crime, ©2011.
Physical Description:
313 pages ; 24 cm
Number in series:
Red Cross nurse Nina Borg is drawn into Copenhagen's brutal underworld when she becomes the unwitting caretaker of a three-year-old boy who may be a victim of child trafficking.
Added Author:


Call Number
MYSTERY Kaaberbol, L.
Kaaberbol Nina Borg v.1

On Order



Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife and mother of two, is trying to live a quiet life. The last thing her husband wants is for her to go running off on another dangerous mission to help illegal refugees. But when Nina's estranged friend Karin leaves Nina a key to a public locker in a Copenhagen train station and begs her to take care of its contents, Nina gets drawn into a brutally violent underworld. Inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked, drugged, but alive. Nina tries to find out who the boy is, but when Karin is murdered, their lives are threatened too.

Author Notes

Lene Kaaberbøl was born in 1960. She writes fantasy novels usually set in the medieval period.

Lene is the author of the The Shamer Chronicles, W.I.T.C.H. Adventures, The Tale of Katriona Teresadatter, and The Shadow Gate. She is the co-author, with Agnete Friis, of The Boy in the Suitcase.

Lene teaches English and drama when she is not writing new stories or translating her own books into English.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this riveting first in a new Danish crime series, hard-working Copenhagen nurse Nina Borg can't say no to nursing school friend Karin's cryptic request to pick up a package at the train station. There, stuffed in a suitcase inside a locker, Nina finds a three-year-old boy, drugged but alive. A near altercation with a violent man, who arrives at the locker soon after and is furious to find the suitcase empty, quashes Nina's instincts to call the police. Child in tow, she tries to track down Karin to understand her involvement and discover whether the boy, Mikas, who speaks only Lithuanian, is a victim of sex trafficking. Meanwhile, others are searching frantically for Mikas, from his mother in Vilnius to the men who'll stop at nothing to recover their "cargo." Without flashy plot devices, Kaaberbol and Friis let Nina's particular blend of stoicism and vulnerability guide the story. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

The first in a best-selling Scandinavian series to be translated into English introduces the possibly unreliable and definitely unstable Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse in Copenhagen, whose desire to help others frequently supersedes family and personal responsibilities. Which is why she finds herself retrieving a suitcase from the train station for her old friend, Karin, only to discover a small boy inside. When she spots a thuggish-looking man trying to kick down the locker door a few minutes later, she panics and flees, setting off a series of chain reactions that involve the kidnappers, the man who hired them, and the mother of the young boy. This fast-paced, suspenseful thriller intertwines several stories, gradually revealing the motivations of multiple characters and building tremendous suspense. The novel should be recommended to anyone who enjoys Åsa Larsson's Rebecka Martinsson series and, especially, Christian Jungersen's The Exception (2007), another Danish thriller focused on a group of female characters.--Moyer, Jessica Copyright 2010 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

I'M always stumped when someone asks me to find them "a good mystery," because I might recommend a serial killer thriller like Jo Nesbo's fiendishly clever novel THE SNOWMAN (Knopf, $25.95) to someone hankering for a civilized British detective story like Peter Lovesey's STAGESTRUCK (Soho Crime, $25). So let's play favorites - but pick your poison first. FAVORITE BOOK The final exit of a beloved sleuth is the focal point of my choice: THE TROUBLED MAN (Knopf, $26.95). Henning Mankell makes it clear that his brilliant if chronically depressed Swedish detective, Kurt Wallander, has solved his last case. In the course of investigating a political conspiracy that dates back to the cold war, Wallander comes to realize "how little he actually knew about the world he had lived in" and how inadequate his efforts to fix that broken world have proved. Although it accounts for his perpetual mood of despair, that insight also makes him a hero for this age of anxiety. FAVORITE NEW SLEUTH George Pelecanos's new protagonist. Spero Lucas, is not only younger and friskier than most private eyes, he's also untainted by the cynicism that goes with the profession. Making his first appearance in THE CUT (Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown, $25.99), Lucas brings his lusty appetites and taste for danger to a vivid narrative about gang wars in Washington, D.C. The big question: Can Pelecanos keep his young hero from flaming out? FAVORITE DEBUT NOVEL/FAVORITE ACTION THRILLER Sebastian Rotella scores twice for TRIPLE CROSSING (Mulholland/Little, Brown, $24.99), which begins on the San Diego-Tijuana border and sends good guys from both sides of the fence to combat drug smugglers and terrorists in the badlands of South America. FAVORITE COZY That would be A TRICK OF THE LIGHT (Minotaur, $25.99), Louise Penny's mystery starring Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and set in the enchanting village of Three Pines. FAVORITE REGIONAL MYSTERY In SHOCK WAVE (Putnam, $27.95), John Sandford drags Virgil Flowers away from an all-girls volleyball tournament and dispatches him to Butternut Falls, where a bomber is intent on keeping out a big-box store. FAVORITE SUSPENSE NOVEL Cara Hoffman takes on rural poverty, domestic abuse and teenage violence in her first novel, SO MUCH PRETTY (Simon & Schuster, $25), which watches a family of urbanites come to grief in upstate New York. Runner-up is another novel on the same theme: BENT ROAD (Dutton, $25.95), in which Lori Roy observes the breakdown of a family that has moved to Kansas to escape racial tensions in 1960s Detroit. FAVORITE MYSTERY WITH A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE A tie between THE END OF THE WASP SEASON (Reagan Arthur/ Little, Brown, $25.99), by Denise Mina, and THE BOY IN THE SUITCASE (Soho, $24), by the Danish authors Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis. Mina's gritty Glasgow procedural features a female cop who takes pity on a 15-year-old killer because she's witnessed the neglect that can produce such damaged children. The criminal mistreatment of children is also the focus of the Danish thriller, which follows the efforts of a nurse to identify the 3-year-old boy she rescues at the Copenhagen train station. FAVORITE NOIR Antiheroes don't get much darker than the protagonist of James Sallis's moody existential mystery, THE KILLER IS DYING (Walker, $24), a hit man who wants to make one last clean kill before he dies. But I have to go with the rogue Scott Phillips introduces in THE ADJUSTMENT (Counterpoint, $25). This prince of a fellow made a killing pimping and working the black market as an Army quartermaster in Rome during World War II. But peacetime life in Wichita is so dull it takes all his ingenuity to come up with a new way to make a dishonest living. FAVORITE SUPERNATURAL MYSTERY Michael Koryta easily takes top honors for two eerie novels, THE CYPRESS HOUSE (Little, Brown, $24.99), a 1930s gangster story with spooky undertones, and THE RIDGE (Little, Brown, $24.99), a ghost story set in an old mining region of Kentucky. FAVORITE HISTORICAL MYSTERY If the category were narrowed to World War II-era novels, it would be a tossup between FIELD GRAY (Marian Wood/Putnam, $26.95), the darkest of Philip Kerr's Berlin stories, and David Downing's POTSDAM STATION (Soho, $25), with its horrific scenes of Berlin falling to the Red Army. But in an open field, top honors go to C.J. Sansom for HEARTSTONE (Viking, $27.95), a Tudor mystery that captures the chaotic state of England in the aftermath of Henry VIII's ill-conceived invasion of France. FAVORITE PERFORMANCE BY AN OLD PRO That's a tough one in a year that saw top-drawer work from Michael Connelly in THE FIFTH WITNESS (Little, Brown, $27.99). James Lee Burke in FEAST DAY OF FOOLS (Simon & Schuster, $26.99) and Thomas Perry in THE INFORMANT (Otto Penzler/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27). Sue Grafton earns special mention for keeping Kinsey Millhone engaged and endearing through her 22nd alphabet mystery, V IS FOR VENGEANCE (Marian Wood/Putnam, $27.95). But for sentimental reasons, I'm going with Lawrence Block's nostalgic novel, A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF (Mulholland/ Little, Brown, $25.99), set in New York in the 1970s, when Matt Scudder was still a working cop and crime was still "the leading occupation" in his Hell's Kitchen neighborhood.

Library Journal Review

Red Cross nurse Nina Borg, who works helping illegal refugees, gets a call from an estranged friend begging her to pick up a package in one of the lockers at the main Copenhagen train station. The package turns out to be a suitcase with a drugged three-year-old boy inside. When the friend is murdered, Nina realizes she's caught in the middle of a kidnapping case. Nina must use her connections in the refugee community to discover the identity and nationality of the child before she can find out who is behind his abduction. Nina is a complicated, flawed character, conflicted by her compulsion to help strangers rather than stay home with her family. VERDICT Although Nina is the protagonist, she is only one of several voices, and it takes a while to get used to the switching among points of view. Readers who hang on will enjoy the fast-paced plot that takes a surprising twist when the multiple story lines are finally connected. Winner of the 2008 Harald Mogensen award for Best Danish Crime Novel and a finalist for the Scandinavian Glass Key Award (losing to Stieg Larsson), this trilogy debut has also been translated into nine languages. A must for Scandinavian crime fiction aficionados. [See Prepub Alert, 8/2/11.]-Jean King, West Hempstead P.L., NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.