The author Johan Theorin has spent the summers on Öland throughout his whole life. His mother’s family – sailors, fishermen and farmers – have lived on the island for centuries. The four books in his Öland Quartet are dark mystery novels, set in today`s society, but with supernatural overtones from the past. They all take place on the Swedish island of Öland, a sunny and popular place with many tourists in the summer but a dark, cold and rather dreary place in the winter. The four books are set during the four different seasons of the year.
The locations that appear in the books are sometimes real and sometimes fictional – and sometimes something in between.
Borgholm is the only town on Öland, both in real life and in the books. It’s a popular summer town with many tourists and a crowded yacht harbour.
In Echoes from the Dead, Julia and Gerlof Davidsson are visiting the harbour in Borgholm and in The Darkest Room, one of the main characters lives in Borgholm, where he one night gets a visit from two strange people.
Stenvik is a fictional village on the North-West coast of Öland, but it´s modelled very much on the little village of Djupvik, which is located 20 kilometres north of Borgholm. Both Djupvik and Stenvik have a long stone beach with a jetty and lots of boat houses.
Marnäs church, where Nils Kant is buried in Echoes from the Dead, is modelled on Föra church, which is located about 25 kilometres north of Borgholm. Here, Johan Theorin`s ancestor Gerlof Persson is buried – and it´s from him the author has shaped the fictional character Gerlof Davidsson.
In The Voices Beyond Gerlof tells an old story about “…some seventy years earlier when he had dug Edvard Kloss´s grave in Marnäs churchyard and heard the sound of knocking from inside the coffin.”
Eel´s Point, the mysterious twin lighthouses in The Darkest Room are located on the east coast of Öland in the novel. The East coast is green and beautiful, but also dangerous and many ships have ended up too close to land and been smashed by the waves over the years.
Eel´s Point doesn´t exist in reality, but there are many other famous lighthouses on the island. On the North Cape there is the light house Långe Erik, which is rumoured to be haunted and further down south in Gärdlösa there is the beautiful Chapel Point light house.
Öland has many famous Iron Age villages and forts, but also even older remains. The Bronze Age has left many clear traces in the landscape, especially large graves in the form of mounds and cairns.
A cairn plays an important role in The Voices Beyond: “Gerlof was pointing to the right of the windmill with his stick. Jonas looked, and saw a pile of round stones lying half hidden in the long grass. ‘You see that? Those stones are the cairn … The real cairn, which was raised over some dead chieftain back in the Bronze Age.'”
Offermossen, the ghostly old peat bog in The Darkest Room is fictional, but Öland has got many strange cult places where treasure, animals and even humans used to be sacrificed. The most famous sacrificial bog is Skedemosse and it’s located in the middle of the island, east of Borgholm. Here is also a real museum where you learn more about the sacrificial rituals.