Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mystery of the Disembodied Feet

by Jorn Lier Horst, Norway

On 16 February 2008 I read a newspaper article about a macabre mystery. Three severed feet were washed ashore on Valdes Island in
British Columbia, Canada. All three were right foot belonging to a man, and all three were size 43.

The idea for a crime novel began to sprout, and the same week that I started writing for "Dregs", Canadian media announced that a fourth, severed foot was found. The mystery grew while I wrote. Within the novel was finished, the number of feet become seven. Today there are altogether found 15 feet. Not everyone is right feet, and some of them belong together - but still ...

What on Wikipedia is called The Salish Sea human foot discoveries is an exciting and fascinating history. National Geographic has made a documentary about the events, and when Time Magazine made a list of the ten greatest unsolved criminal casesin the world, the mystery of the disembodied feet ended in seventh place. In my book, however, you'll find a logical solution. I am only mentioning it ...

The idea behind Dregs was not to write about severed feet, but to write a book which dealt with crimes and punishment. As a writer, I have been on several prison visits and through these meetings with inmates I have made myself thoughts about which paradox is that in a society whose basic idea that one should help people in difficult situations, alleviate pain and mitigate suffering, consciously choose to make other people hurt by a prison sentence. And even more: What punishment does with a man.

Dregs is thus not a book about a serial killer, but a book about crime and punishment. The title does not refer to what might be left on the seabed, or what is left in the bottom of a wine bottle, but to those people who not only falls outside the community, but to the bottom and become the dregs of society.


  1. A fascinating mystery! The only thing like it that I've read is Fred Vargas's 'An Uncertain Place'. She had 17 severed feet in that, I think.
    I loved 'The Caveman' and now I'm looking forward to 'Dregs" just as much.

  2. Can't wait to read it. I've always wondered about the effects of prisons not only on the prisoner, but also on society. And part of that is the issue of people, who often claim to be pro-life, to be the first to advocate the death penalty.

  3. Dregs was an excellent book. When will you be getting more books into translation?

  4. Sorry for the late feedback. Jono: My latest novel, "Ordeal" is under translation and will be out in March 2016.

  5. Too bad murder takes away from the said reality these were a lot of suicides.