The city of Copenhagen is one of Europe’s oldest capitals, but at the same time as being historic the city is very youthful and innovative. It is the center of the dynamic Øresund Region and has a truly cosmopolitan atmosphere. In fact Copenhagen has a little bit of everything, classic destinations such as Christianborg Palace and Tivoli Gardens, but also chaotic urban experiments like Fredens Havn and the free town Christiania. No wonder many Danish authors use this fascinating city as a backdrop for their crime fiction stories.
Katrine Engberg made her crime fiction debut in 2016 and has so far written four novels featuring police sergeants Jeppe Körner and Anette Werner at the Copenhagen Police. Engberg grew up and still lives in Copenhagen and the city plays a major role in all her novels. She knows every street and you may literally follow in the footsteps of her protagonists.
As a former danser and choreographer Engberg is familiar with the Danish Royal Theatre and in her debut novel The Tenant she uses the theatre´s gigantic crystal chandelier for a spectacular crime scene:
“He was found in the chandelier at the Royal Theatre during the second act of the ballet Napoli.”
“The chandelier with Kristoffer´s body was being raised. Jeppe and Anette walked over to watch.”
Opposite the Royal Theatre is the square Kongens Nytorv (the King´s Square), where residents and tourists gather. During the investigation Jeppe has to make some inquiries in the area:
“Getting his chic on, as his deceased father always used to say whenever they were in this posh area around Kongens Nytorv.”
One of the murder victims has a special tattoo, which leads to further inquiries and a visit to Nyhavn, the 17th-century waterfront and entertainment district in Copenhagen:
“‘What about Julie´s tattoo?’ he continued. ‘What do you know about it?’ ‘I know she had it done at my friend Tipper´s tattoo place, in Nyhavn.”
An important meeting takes place at a famous and very special place – Rundetaarn (the Round Tower), a 36-meter-high structure built as an observatory, now a major tourist attraction:
“Clausen was the one who suggested a walk up the round tower of Rundetaarn, at first mostly as a joke, but at the end of the day, it was as good a place to meet as any.”
The novel The Butterfly House opens with a paper boy finding a dead woman in this fountain on his early morning round. It is the oldest fountain in Copenhagen, built in 1608 and today a part of the busy Strøget pedestrian area.
“‘The name of the fountain is Caritas, did you know that?’ Jeppe turned around and found himself eye to eye with crime scene technician J.H. Clausen.”
” Caritas means charity in Latin,” Clausen explained, wiping his bushy eyebrows and then shaking water off his hands. “That’s why the figure on top is a pregnant woman. the symbol of altruism you know.”
During the investigation Jeppe is forced to visit many different parts of Copenhagen, like the bridge that connects the city centre with the buzzing Nørrebro area:
The “Prophets of Rage´s nihilistic rock mantra ran on repeat through Jeppe´s tired brain, throbbing to the beat of his pulse as he walked down Gothersgade toward Queen Louise´s Bridge.”
At the end of the novel Jeppe finally may forget about the job and indulge into something else:
“Now he was roaming through Tivoli holding balloons for two children he didn´t know, while looking for a chance to kiss their mother. What a difference a day makes.”