March 2013 Club

The Hypnotist

Crime fiction isn’t a genre I would normally choose. The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (a pseudonym for a literary couple) is not a book I would usually have picked up. But being an avid fan of Danish and Swedish television series such as The Killing and The Bridge, I read the blurb and was immediately hooked by the premise – Detective Inspector Joona Linna is faced with a badly injured comatose boy whose family have been murdered, the killer seemingly still on the run and his sister possibly in danger. His only option is to persuade a once-respected hypnotist, who vowed to never practice again, to hypnotise the boy who is the only witness to try to save his sister. But what they hear the boy say is not what they expected at all. And a whole series of chilling events unravel.

There may be minor flaws in the writing and yes, it is a little formulaic in terms of Scandinavian crime drama – a tenacious detective with not much of a home life, a couple on the verge of divorce brought together by a missing child – but these minor distractions didn’t stop it being a page-turner that kept you guessing throughout. It was gruesome in parts, to be expected, and some of the events were thoroughly unnerving – can you tell I’m having trouble reviewing this book without giving anything away? Might make more sense to move straight onto the colourway inspiration and simply say that I loved the book and look out for other work by Lars Kepler in coming months.

Colourway inspiration
There were numerous sources of potential colour in this book – somewhat surprisingly – from Joona Linna’s pale grey eyes to strings of Christmas lights hung everywhere; and from moss and blueberries to the pale green summer house.
But what I got slightly obsessed with was the description of the facade of the police headquarters which resembled “dark copper, burnished but underwater”. Then later, the copper roofs of Södermalm and Lydia’s henna-dyed hair “glowing like threads of copper” are also described. Something metallic on a silk yarn base – that could work well. So I set about creating a copper colour for the semi-solid option. There were variations between the different dye batches – some more brownish than others – so it will be a surprise in itself as to which skeins you receive.

The variegated option was a bit more of a challenge. It had to tone with the copper. So I started to think about the colours of oxidised copper and how they also resemble the colours of freezing, turquoise lakes. Then I started to think about the ending of the novel – the lake scene, up in the remote, sparsely populated municipality of Dorotea – home of the Sami people. So I took the dark brown of the stark pine trees, added some copper tones and introduced a bright turquoise-teal and randomly dyed the colours together. In some of the skeins, where the turquoise has blended with the dark brown, there are tones of pine green.
The resulting colourway also nods to Erik Maria Bark’s hypnosis descent – whereby he takes himself and patients downwards through “bright, oxygen-rich water” to “dark, bottomless undercurrents constantly swirling”.

As for the yarn base, it had to be something with silk and a big yardage to reflect the length of the novel! So I opted for a new yarn base – Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace – 55% BFL 45% silk – 600m per skein = 600 pages of the book. It’s pretty much a fingering weight, so don’t be scared to try it if you’ve never tried lace knitting before.

Depending on the yardage you received, here are a few pattern suggestions: you could make a sweet little Lobelia cardigan – pattern by Meghan Fernandes or if you got both colourways, what about a Pop Spots shawl by Juju Vail or for the kids, a Leonie by Dani Sunshine, or a Winter Thaw shawl by Beata Jezek.