Published: Lightning Books (November 2019)

ISBN: 9781785631641

The Forest Lake Mystery

Palle Rosenkrantz


The first Danish detective novel


Translated by David Young

Detective Sergeant Eigil Holst is on holiday in the countryside when the body of a baby is washed up on the banks of a nearby lake. The local magistrate orders the lake to be drained and the body of a young woman is discovered, naked and weighed down with stones tied to her feet and neck. Her identity is a mystery.

Holst then takes it upon himself to find out where this woman came from, why she was in this remote location and who could have had motive to kill her. His investigations take him across Scandinavia and into central Europe as, gradually, he realises that the solution to the mystery could have huge implications for his own future.

Originally published in 1903, The Forest Lake Mystery is considered to be the very first Danish crime novel, and the annual Danish crime writing awards are named in honour of its author, Palle Rosenkrantz.






‘A must for anyone who enjoys classic crime novels, and especially Scandi noir’

Chez Maximka

‘Wonderfully descriptive... fast-paced storyline. Highly recommended read’

Jera’s Jamboree



Palle Rosenkrantz

Palle Rosenkrantz was a Danish aristocrat who was born in Helsingør (Elsinore) in 1867. He spent part of his childhood living on the estate of a royal castle but as an adult was arrested for misuse of public funds and went bankrupt.

He turned to writing to make ends meet and became Denmark’s most prolific author. He also worked for the newspaper Politiken and wrote screenplays for silent films. His 1903 detective story The Forest Lake Mystery (Hvad Skovsøen gemte) is the first-ever Danish detective novel. He died in 1941.

The Palle Rosenkrantz Prize is awarded each year by the Danish Crime Academy to the best crime novel published in Danish.

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