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Gotland, Sweden, June 1944.

War is raging in Europe, but in the beach town of Ljugarn happy vacationers gather on the verandas of the seaside hotels. A darkness stirs below the surface and the threat is not only to the calm in the little town, but to national security.

Rut Johansson and Svea Björklund are so-called Police Sisters, the only title available to women serving in the police force. They have been sent to the island of Gotland on an undercover Vice squad mission. Gotland holds a strategically important position in the Baltic Sea and is the very frontline of Sweden’s defense. Rut and Svea are tasked with investigating prostitution among soldiers stationed there, a reconnaissance assignment before the big boys come to save the day.

There is fierce competition between the two women. Their undercover personas aren’t quite fair, either. While Svea toils as a waitress at a hotel, Rut’s role as a teacher on holiday allows her both creature comforts and freedom to roam. Their mission has barely started when a murdered man washes up on the beach. With no male officer available on the island, Rut must abruptly abandon her disguise in order to start up a murder investigation – leaving a bitter Svea in the trenches.

In the same beach town lives Countess Lussan Kagg who is dying of cancer. With a past smuggling people out of Nazi Germany, she is determined to use what time she has left, and her money, to do good. Together with an unlikely group of women – a fugitive German pianist, a local secretary, and a former hat-maker – she has started a local resistance cell affiliated with British Intelligence. They need to recruit more members and Lussan has her eyes set on the two newcomers in town…

When vulnerable young women working as “breakfast girls” begin to disappear from the Seaside Guest House, Svea and Rut realize that their two investigations must be connected. But how? Together with Countess Kagg and her motley crew of resistance women, the police sisters uncover a deep-rooted and brutal evil with tentacles stretching far beyond Sweden’s borders.

In Lessons in Ungentlemanly Warfare, Christina Wahldén portrays a group of women united by their will to make a difference in a war-torn world where men rule, and female values are underrated. Modern themes of misogyny, sex trafficking, eugenics, and the threat of war in the Baltic are cleverly packaged in an irresistible historical setting. Kate Quinn meets Bletchley Circle in this warm and thrilling story that marks the beginning of an ambitious new series set on the picturesque island of Gotland in the 1940’s.


Lessons in Ungentlemanly Warfare is a delightfully entertaining crime novel with great charm but also with a feminist sharpness – not least in the portrayal of the situation of women in a variety of professions (police, journalist, telephone operator, waitress, etc.). There is also a palpable darkness in the depiction of a peaceful life in the shadow of war. What’s especially topical is the portrayal of refugees from the Baltics who are coming to Gotland across the ocean, and it is easy to draw parallels to our own time. […] What characterizes Lessons in Ungentlemanly Warfare is the lively and joyful storytelling and an exceptionally well-constructed milieu and historical atmosphere. And in addition; it is incredibly thrilling.”
Gunilla Wedding, Skånska dagbladet (SE)

“The raging war in Europe is interwoven with personal human fates in a picturesque summer setting. The novel is thrilling, while friendship and sisterhood run like a theme throughout the book and leaves the reader with a warm feeling after the last page. It is clear that author and journalist Christina Wahldén for many years worked as a crime reporter focusing on violence against women and girls. Both the structure of the story and its details indicate solid research and experience. And luckily, Lessons in Ungentlemanly Warfare is the first part of a suspense series, so we will soon get to know more about the colorful cast of characters.”

Lessons in Ungentlemanly Warfare – what a fantastic cover by Lotta Kühlhorn – is the first part of a series called Police Sisters, set in the 1940s. Here we meet Svea and Rut who are two young police sisters in Stockholm who are sent on a reconnaissance mission to Gotland […] Girls disappear and a man is found murdered in the ocean – soon the police sisters have to do more than just investigate and their vice mission grows into something bigger. […] The spirit of the time is not only reflected in the dialogue; the nods to predecessors in the genre are noticeable in both form and content and adds an extra dimension. Darkness lures both on Gotland and in the sisters’ background, but the collective female power and the will to resist are stronger – and pave the way for a sequel that is due out next year.”
Göteborgsposten (SE)

“The military presence on Gotland is high and there are disturbing reports of young women disappearing and bodies appearing along the coast. Two police sisters are sent there undercover. This is the first part of a new series that delivers on its promises. By far. The spirit of the time, the characters, and the unimaginable evil that is revealed – everything feels real and terrifying.”
Ingalill Mosander, Aftonbladet (SE)

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