from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mercy (in the Danish original: Kvinden i buret , literally: The woman in the cage ) is a thriller by the Danish writer Jussi Adler-Olsen . The Danish original edition appeared in 2008 as the first part of the Carl Mørck series and was Adler-Olsen's breakthrough.


The novel is written in a non-linear narrative form. Those chapters that deal with the kidnapping victim Merete Lynggaard begin in 2002. There are often longer intervals between these chapters that are dealt with, so that this storyline finally converges in 2007 with the described plot of the investigators.

Jussi Adler-Olsen dedicated the novel to his wife Hanne Adler-Olsen. The central character, Vice Criminal Investigator Carl Mørck, shares his first name with the author, Carl Valdemar Jussi Henry Adler-Olsen.


Vice-detective Carl Mørck of the Copenhagen Homicide Commission recently lost one of his colleagues, Anker, in a shootout. Another, Mørck's good friend Hardy Henningsen, has since been paralyzed from the head down in the hospital. Although Mørck has since recovered from his gunshot wounds in the shooting, it is still difficult for him to maintain social contacts. His wife Vigga has separated from him and he has no access to his foster son Jesper, who lives with Mørck. Mørck's tenant Morten does not bring any bright spots into his life either. Since Mørck can hardly draw strength from his private environment, it is increasingly difficult for him to work with his police colleagues. Therefore it is just right for Mørck's superior, Marcus Jacobsen, head of the homicide commission, that a budget of five million kroner was approved according to the proposal of the center party , with which the special department Q should be set up. This is intended to reopen cases that have already been closed. Jacobsen sees Mørck as a suitable candidate to head the Q special department. With Hafez el-Assad, he is assigned a Syrian as an assistant who, although he has no police training, turns out to be extremely zealous and inventive when it comes to the tasks assigned to him.

Mørck and Assad set out to solve a case that was five years ago. On March 2, 2002, the ambitious and at the same time charismatic politician and parliamentarian Merete Lynggaard of the Democratic Party disappeared at the age of about 30 on board a Baltic Sea ferry en route to Berlin. It is believed that it was an accident in which she drowned. Nevertheless, murder, suicide, or kidnapping could not be entirely ruled out. The investigators can quickly remove Uffe, Merete's little brother, from the list of suspects. Since the disappearance of his older sister, Uffe has been in a psychiatric hospital. The accommodation is provided from his parents' legacy, the Lynggaard Fund. Since a car accident in her youngest childhood, which only Merete and Uffe survived while their parents died, Uffe has stopped speaking and seems to have been slow in development. Nevertheless, Mørck manages to elicit a reaction from Uffe when he confronts him with the photo of Lars Henrik Jensen. He had survived the car accident in the car of the other party while his father and sister died. Since then, his mother has been dependent on a wheelchair, while his brother Hans has also lagged behind in development.

After the two investigators Mørck and Assad have been put on Lars Henrik Jensen's trail, it turns out that he harbors a deep hatred for Merete, because he blames her for the accident on the frozen route through her wild, childlike play in the back seat to have triggered. Lars Henrik Jensen, who is always called Lasse, forges a perfidious plan to get revenge on Merete. He begins to watch her and study her habits. To lure Merete onto the Baltic Sea ferry, for whose shipping company he works, he slips into the role of businessman Daniel Hale. He had previously let him die in an arranged car accident. With the help of his brother Hans, Lasse kidnaps her victim Merete Lynggaard from the Baltic Sea ferry and takes her to the factory halls of H. J. Industries, where her father produced steel containers for nuclear power plants until his death and tested their tightness in a huge pressure chamber. They locked Merete in this chamber on March 2, 2002, provided her with food and water via a sluice and after a while made contact with her via an intercom. She is left in the dark about the reasons why she was kidnapped. On her birthday, July 6, 2002, Lasse increased the internal pressure of the chamber to two bar overpressure. On her birthday, the overpressure is increased by one bar up to six bar overpressure on July 6, 2006. It is revealed to her that Lasse abducted her in retaliation for the accident she caused. He also tells her that her torment will only last until May 15, 2007. Then she suffered for exactly as long as he suffered under his adoptive parents and then in psychiatry. Her death will come when the overpressure in the chamber is rapidly reduced to one bar. This will cause the air pockets in your tissue and bones to expand massively and tear them to pieces.

Merete, confronted with her cruel end, takes appropriate precautions to open her wrists and thereby escape the cruel death Lasse intended for her. When she punctured her wrists, she had no idea how close the investigators are now on the heels of their tormentors. After Mørck and Assad gained access to the factory halls with an alleged search warrant, they became aware of Merete's situation. They call the navy with a mobile decompression chamber and police colleagues for help. Before the reinforcements arrive, Mørck and Assad are shot, but they are able to overpower Lasse before he accidentally blows himself up while escaping. His mother Ulla and his brother Hans are arrested by the incoming emergency services and later sentenced to eight years in psychiatry and three years in prison.

Merete is put into an artificial coma , as severe brain damage is to be expected from the thrombi . When the doctors bring Merete out of her coma, both her brother Uffe and Vice Detective Mørck are present. Mørck witnesses how Uffe speaks for the first time since the accident in his childhood and greets his sister holding the hand with the exclamation “MMmmmeerete”, whereupon Merete replies “Thank you, Uffe”.



Carl Mørck is the main character in the series. He is a police officer and has been employed by the Copenhagen homicide squad for 25 years. During a police operation, his friend and colleague Anker was killed and his colleague Hardy Henningsen was paraplegic in an accident. Mørck himself was shot. This event left Mørck severely traumatized. His superior, Marcus Jacobsen, therefore transfers him to the newly created Q department to deal with unsolved criminal cases , so-called cold cases . The author characterizes Mørck as an egomaniac, poor contact and sometimes harsh Danish investigator, who on the other hand also has a soft and vulnerable side.

No, he was no longer the old man, the experienced detective who burned for his work. Nor was he the tall, elegant Jutlander who raised his eyebrows and parted his lips at the sight. But what did that mean now? "

- "Erbarmen", dtv premium, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-423-24751-1 , p. 9
Adler-Olsen about his protagonist:

In any case, my goal is to develop Carl Mørck's character further until you get to the point where you know everything and then everything starts all over again. It is exactly the same with Assad. The two are very different, but at some point - and I already know where and why - their lines will cross. "

- Biography: I'm a location-man! , Stefanie Rufle, accessed August 18, 2013

Hafez el-Assad is Mørck's assistant. He is a Syrian immigrant and represents an idiosyncratic, very lively and dynamic figure. Thanks to his energy, the plot is driven forward, so Assad often serves as a catalyst for history. Assad came to Denmark with his family in 1998 and lived in the Sandholm refugee camp until 2000. He was then granted asylum .

Vigga Mørck is Carl's wife. The two live in separation.

Merete Lynggaard is a Danish politician from the Democratic Party and a member of the Folketing , the Danish parliament. Merete is an ambitious and attractive woman, in her early 30s, who disappeared without a trace under mysterious circumstances on a Baltic Sea ferry at the height of her political career in 2002. Her case met with strong media coverage at the time, but has been increasingly forgotten over the years due to the lack of successful searches.

The press loved her. She loved Merete Lynggaard's sharp-tongued speeches in Parliament and her lack of respect for the Minister of State and his nodding offs. She loved the Democratic Vice-President for her femininity, for her cocky look and the seductive dimples in her cheeks. She loved them for their youth and success. But most of all she loved Merete Lynggaard because she gave room for speculation. Why did such a talented and attractive woman never show herself in public with a man? Merete Lynggaard issued a circulation. Lesbian or not, she was always good news for the press. Merete knew all this only too well. "

- "Erbarmen", dtv premium, Munich, 2009, ISBN 978-3-423-24751-1 , p. 11
In the course of the plot, the reader is asked how such a popular person could suddenly arouse so much hatred that led to her kidnapping. The last scene she was seen in public was an argument with her brother Uffe on board the ferry. Much of the novel deals with Merete Lynggaard's imprisonment and the agony in the hyperbaric chamber associated with it. Accordingly, the Danish original edition is literally translated as The Woman in the Cage . Her tormentor announces her death on May 15, 2007 by abruptly reducing the pressure, which has gradually increased to six bars, to one bar within a minute.

That will hurt, Merete, but it will also be quick. The nitrogen has built up in your adipose tissue. You are very thin, but you can assume that air bubbles have deposited all over your body. When your bones expand and the fragments of bone are just starting to blast into the tissue, when the pressure under your seals gets so great that it explodes in your mouth when you feel the pain shoot through your shoulder and hip joints then you know the time has come. "

- "Erbarmen", dtv premium, Munich, 2009, ISBN 978-3-423-24751-1 , p. 315
Merete survived the years of martyrdom thanks to her will to survive and her fighter nature.

Uffe Lynggaard is Merete's brother. The autistic person who lives in a nursing home has not spoken since his sister disappeared. In the course of the story, he leads the investigators, who initially suspected him as a perpetrator, on the right track.

Daniel Hale is a businessman. He was part of the delegation that Merete Lynggaard received shortly before her abduction. Hale is killed in an accident at the instigation of Jensen in order to be able to assume his identity and to win the trust of Merete Lynggaard.


Lars Henrik "Lasse" Jensen is employed as a ship steward at the shipping company, whose Baltic ferry operates between Rødby and Puttgarden . This is the line Merete was kidnapped on. Jensen survived a serious traffic accident on December 24, 1986, at the age of 14, in which Merete Lynggaard's parents were involved. His father, the engineer Henrik Jensen, and his sister as well as one of the newborn twins in the burning accident vehicle were killed. Lasse is the oldest son of the other party involved in the accident. After losing his family, Lasse is placed in a foster family where he is mistreated. In an argument, Lasse tries to kill his foster father and has to go back to the nursing home. Sometime later he returns and ends his act by killing his foster father, but making it look like an accident. Jensen is charming and handsome. After he has won Merete's trust, he succeeds in kidnapping the woman.

The guy smiled. You could understand that women flew at him. He was a Satan in disguise. "

- "Erbarmen", dtv premium, Munich, 2009, ISBN 978-3-423-24751-1 , p. 392

All of his thoughts and actions are shaped by his irrepressible hatred of Merete Lynggaard.

Your mean eyes will slip out of your head. Your foolish smile will be drowned in blood. Your hair will rot and your thoughts will turn to dust. The teeth will rot. You will be remembered for who you are: a whore, a bitch in heat, a devil, a cursed murderess, Merete Lynggaard. You must die. "

- "Erbarmen", dtv premium, Munich, 2009, ISBN 978-3-423-24751-1 , p. 384

Ulla Jensen is Lasse's mother and accomplice. She has been in a wheelchair since the car accident. Because of her complicity, she is sentenced to eight years in prison.

She was sitting in a wheelchair, set back in the room, smoking a cigarette. Her age was hard to guess, she looked so gray and worn out. But judging by the son's age, she couldn't have been in her early sixties. "

- "Erbarmen", dtv premium, Munich, 2009, ISBN 978-3-423-24751-1 , p. 350

Hans Jensen is Lasse's brother and accomplice. He is the twin who survived the car accident with severe burn injuries. As a result of an insufficient oxygen supply during his birth, Hans Jensen is mentally handicapped. He is sentenced to three years in prison.


With pity Adler-Olsen “succeeded in creating a gripping, nerve-wracking crime thriller that captivates from the first second” . He is "hard and atmospherically dense" . The story is both "cruel, beautiful and poignant" and "touchingly funny" . It is "at the same time exciting, ludicrous, thoughtful, in a good mood, sad to death, exaggerated, realistic and full of surreal antics" . "Scary psychological cases and a curious pair of investigators" characterize the plot. At the same time, Adler-Olsen had succeeded with this novel in demonstrating "a great sense of the genre" . The novel is similar to the works of Stieg Larsson , with whom Adler-Olsen is often compared.

Audio book and film adaptation

The German-language edition from 2009 reached second place on the Spiegel bestseller list. The work was published on October 17, 2009 as an audio book with a total playing time of 386 minutes on five CDs by Audio Verlag . Frank Bruder directed the recording of the translation by Hannes Thiess, with Wolfram Koch and Ulrike Hübschmann as speakers .

At the Cannes International Film Festival in 2012 , NFP acquired the exploitation rights for Germany. A total of ten episodes are planned, which will be created in a European co-production by Zentropa and ZDF . The screenplay is by Nikolaj Arcel, directed by Mikkel Norgaard , and actor Nikolaj Lie Kaas is slated for the lead role of Carl Mørck . Adler-Olsen's preferred candidate would have been Peter Lohmeyer . The German theatrical release of Mercy was originally scheduled for October 3, 2013. On January 23, 2014, Mercy came to German cinemas.



With Fasandræberne (literally: pheasant killer ) appeared in 2008 the continuation of the novel, which appeared in 2010 under the title desecration . In 2009, Adler-Olsen published Flaskepost fra P (literally: Message in a bottle from P ), the third book in the series that was published in 2011 under the title Redemption . The fourth book, Journal 64 , appeared in German in 2012 under the title Contempt . All works were translated by Hannes Thiess.

  • Desecration . Roman (=  dtv premium . Volume 24787 ). Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-423-24787-0 (Danish: Fasandræberne . Copenhagen 2008. Translated by Hannes Thiess).
  • Redemption . The third case for Carl Mørck; Special Department Q (=  dtv premium . Volume 24852 ). Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-423-24852-5 (Danish: Flaskepost fra P. Copenhagen 2009. Translated by Hannes Thiess).
  • Contempt . The fourth case for Carl Mørck, Special Department Q. 1st edition. Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-423-28002-0 (Danish: Journal 64. Copenhagen 2010.).

Notes and individual references

  1. Seven questions to Jussi Adler-Olsen , interview with Claudia Schmid, translation by Barbara Zeller, November 6, 2012, accessed on August 18, 2013
  2. What is Merete Lynggaard's fault? , Nijura, July 25, 2011
  3. ^ WDR, Christine Westermann, December 15, 2009
  4. Der Stern , October 15, 2009
  5. WDR 5 : Telephone murder consulting , Manfred Sarrazin 31 October, 2009
  6. Jochen König, November 12, 2009
  7. a b c Focus : Danes Thriller: Ferry Trip to Hell , Jobst-Ulrich Brand, October 16, 2009
  8. Hamburger Morgenpost , November 12, 2009
  9. a b Der Audio Verlag : Mercy
  10. Mediabiz : NFP has "mercy"
  11. Adler-Olsen's work on the special department Q is based on ten books, of which only four have so far been published.
  12. ^ Hannoversches Wochenblatt : Interview : Interview with Jussi Adler-Olsen , Hallo Sonntag, Clemens Niehaus, March 28, 2013
  13. : Panorama: Jussi Adler-Olsen wants Peter Lohmeyer for a crime film adaptation , Stuttgart, dadp, January 23, 2013
  14. Film releases : “Mercy”: bestseller crime thriller by Jussi Adler-Olsen is filmed , Tim Anton, June 11, 2012
  15. " IN THE CINEMA FROM 23 JANUARY 2014!"

Web links

Wiktionary: Mercy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations