The Keeper of Lost Causes

The Keeper of Lost Causes

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Penguin Putnam
Get to know the detective in charge of Copenhagen's coldest cases in the first electrifying Department Q mystery from New York Times bestselling author Jussi Adler-Olsen.

Carl Mørck used to be one of Denmark’s best homicide detectives. Then a hail of bullets destroyed the lives of two fellow cops, and Carl—who didn’t draw his weapon—blames himself. So a promotion is the last thing he expects. But Department Q is a department of one, and Carl’s got only a stack of cold cases for company. His colleagues snicker, but Carl may have the last laugh, because one file keeps nagging at him: a liberal politician vanished five years earlier and is presumed dead. But she isn’t dead...yet.

Darkly humorous, propulsive, and atmospheric, The Keeper of Lost Causes introduces American readers to the mega-bestselling series fast becoming an international sensation.

Baker & Taylor
Chief detective Carl M²rck, recovering from what he thought was a career-destroying gunshot wound, is relegated to cold cases and becomes immersed in the five-year disappearance of a politician.

& Taylor

A U.S. release of a first installment in a top award-winning Danish series introduces chief detective Carl Morck, who after recovering from what he thought was a career-destroying gunshot wound is relegated to cold cases and becomes immersed in the five-year disappearance of a politician. A first novel. Reprint.

Publisher: New York : Dutton, c2011
ISBN: 9780452297906
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY ADL
Characteristics: 396 p. ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Hartford, Lisa
Alternative Title: Mercy


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 05, 2019

One more time here is a story about defaulter detective who unexpectedly solves a crime from the past.
Obviously author is interested in Danish politics and their intrigues, as he describes in details some aspects of political life in Denmark.
The story of survival of a victim is a little unrealistic.

Feb 20, 2019

Hold for later.

Hillsboro_JeanineM Jan 18, 2019

You want it darker - Denmark's Adler-Olsen has taken over the mantle of dark Scandinavian murder mystery from Stieg Larsson. There's no Lisbeth Salander equivalent but Assad has his own mysterious ways of assisting Carl Morck.

As a mystery reader and audiobook fan, I love it when both combine to create the perfect literary experience. The Keeper of Lost Causes, and other works by Jussi Adler-Olsen, are available in four formats but I highly recommend the audio narrated by Erik Davies. The Keeper of Lost Causes introduces Carl Morck, a crusty Danish cop who’s recovering from a brutal shootout that has left one of his partners dead and the other paralyzed. Unpopular with his peers, Carl is assigned to lead the newly created Department Q in Copenhagen to work on cold cases. There he battles his superiors, his guilt, personal life, and the complex, years-old case involving the disappearance of a young female politician.

All the characters, from the victim to Morck and his quirky team, quickly develop into people you want to know more about. None disappoint as they lead you through a satisfying plot to a knuckle-whitening conclusion. The great news is that there are more titles in this series, all equally as enthralling. (Submitted by Pippa)

DPLchandra Apr 03, 2018

As a huge Scandinavian crime novel nerd, I was so excited to find another great author. Like most murder mysteries in this genre, it is dark. It is also intense, thought-provoking and has twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat. Carl Merck is a great complicated and conflicted character.

Dec 11, 2017

I borrowed the DVD first – The Q Trilogy that covers the first three novels by Dane Jussi Adler-Olsen and it was very good, so I thought I’d read the books. I’ve read all of the novels by Norwegian Jo Nesbo with detective Harry Hole. Nesbo gets a bit sidetracked at times or at least the mystery gets a bit sidetracked by sending Hole to exotic locations and making the character a bit too hip for the storyline. I read the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Swedish author Stieg Larsson (and borrowed the DVD as well but didn’t love that storyline much.) The Q books involve a Danish detective and the first book is very good. Of course you get more details about the main characters in the book than you do in the DVD. Especially in this first novel, Carl Morck is fleshed out and his assistant Assad is an evolving mystery, he is originally from Syria and he seems to have a keen, intuitive mind that surprises Morck. The two of them are Department Q whose sole task is to investigate cold cases (unsolved police investigations). The police brass created the department to basically get rid of or hide Morck and Assad in the basement with 20 year old cases, but they are surprisingly adept at their job. Book 1 is an easy read if you enjoy police mysteries and you will want to read more! They are currently filming book 4, so get reading or watch the DVD!

Jul 15, 2017

It seems to me that there are an overwhelming number of these noir, police procedural novels with an irascible detective who has no friends on the force and is disliked by the bosses who would like to be rid of him;/her. I always find it hard to be patient with these intentionally unlikable characters. They act against their own best interests and they alienate everyone they come into contact with. In this case. the protagonist slowly comes to realize the immigrant who is assigned to be essentially a janitor for his newly formed department (designed to get rid of him) is a very talented researcher with an intuitive grasp of what might be important info. This story built to unbearable tension; in fact, it was so tense that I finally skipped ahead a few time to bypass the scary tension. Good plot line but I am getting tired of the characterization.

Natillez Jul 13, 2017

I love this noir detective series and the characters make me laugh

Jun 19, 2017

Absolutely loved this series and you can now catch 3 of the books made into movies on Netflix!

May 08, 2017

I have been a huge fan of Nordic Noir for about six years and have read most of the authors around. Jussi Adler-Olsen stands out for me because I really enjoy the curmudgeonly Copenhagen detective Carl Morck and his unflappable sidekick Assad, whose mysterious origins are revealed as the series progresses. In an attempt to segregate and dispirit the prickly detective, management has relegated him to a basement office and given him the impossible task of reviving cold cases. The disappearance of a young and attractive politician begins to give up clues as Morck and Assad chip away at the politician's past. These books do not spare you the grisly details, but beginning with The Keeper of Lost Causes, they provide a suspenseful read that will have you up way past your bed-time.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Janina_13 Jul 21, 2014

Janina_13 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at FVRL

To Top