Knowing One’s Place

When a young Norwegian tourist is found murdered in the forest of Lake Superior’s north shore in Vidar Sunstøl’s “The Land of Dreams,” one character asks, “Who would want to murder a Norwegian?” The haunting rugged country of the Arrowhead region is the true protagonist and most finely rendered character in this first volume of the mystery writer’s Minnesota Trilogy. In “The Land of Dreams,” the aboriginal Ojibwe, the descendants of Scandinavian settlers, foreign tourists and a Norwegian policeman discover their place and their true allegiances in the aftermath of the murder. And while the crime is apparently solved – one way for the police and another for the reader – the mystery of motive and modality and the connection of the present murder with a century-old disappearance remain.