Dane's Debut Weaves Crime Fiction, Myth

Article excerpt

The power of storytelling can never be underestimated, as Danish- born Christian Moerk proves in his enthralling "Darling Jim."

In his American debut, Moerk shows how the various forms of storytelling -- myths, fairy tales, horror and crime fiction -- each have the strength to entertain, to reflect society's concerns and to show people at their best and worst.

"Darling Jim" is steeped in each storytelling tradition that Moerk skillfully wraps in a sophisticated piece of crime fiction.

A reclusive woman and her two nieces are found murdered in their secluded home in Malahide, a Dublin suburb. The evidence suggests that the aunt kept the younger women prisoners and that a fourth woman escaped. During their imprisonment, the sisters each wrote a diary that they were able to smuggle out of the house.

When a lonely postal clerk finds one of the diaries, he embarks on a near-Arthurian odyssey to find out what brought the women to that horrible ending. …