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24th July 2015

Last week the news broke that the adultery website Ashley Madison had been hacked and its subscribers' details would be revealed unless certain demands were met. Large proportion of the population had little sympathy with the plight of those who were threatened with exposure. The revelations would be embarrassing to all concerned, and possible several marriages would fail. But for any woman who came from a more "conservative" background, such an outing may well be a death sentence. Should the clientele of Ashley Madison be afforded the same protection in law as anyone else?

In the Hanging, the same question is asked. But this time the stakes are higher. Now five men are found murdered, their mutilated bodies left hanging in a school hall. It transpires that these men were brutal paedophiles, and their murders were met with tacit approval of a large proportion of the Danish population and the near blanket approval of the press. Justice has been done. The police are not required.

Bit by bit, like the best of Scandinavian crime fiction, we are taken though the process of solving this case – in the face of public opposition. We are introduced to Konrad Simonsen who is in charge of the investigation. Simonsen is no pin up bow. He is overweight, diabetic, middle aged, smokes too much and there were times when I wondered if he would live to the end of the book. But he does. And he gets his man even if his methods are somewhat unusual.

It is a good read, but the reader needs to concentrate. There is a lot going on and the narrative can appear to be disjointed if your concentration falters.

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