The book is about what shapes us, the importance of or lack of willpower, and how deep the shadows of our past goes. What's interesting is that there is no judgmental tone. The author lets an unfaithful man, despite his selfish act, still be a loving father that cares about his family and his wife. Their marriage is a facade, a contrast to the raw reality that he must face as a doctor. His mistress becomes a safety-valve to his seemingly perfect, strict every-day life. However, a murder mystery makes everything even more complicated.
A fascinating stylistic choice by the author is to let the characters define each others. They regard each other from their own perspectives, which shows the reader different dimensions of them. It's difficult to introduce new characters after two thirds of the book. The police officers are almost superfluous and perhaps the book would have benefited without them. But all in all, it's rather well written for a debut novel, with some of the characters really defined and interesting.
Schjetlein is a nurse herself and really describes her characters fascination for their work, for life and death, as well as the vocation of helping other people. A hospital environment is a fitting place for a murder. As one of the characters notices, it is like a society in miniature with all sorts of people and facilities - a restaurant, a hairdresser, a church, a library and so on. It gives the opportunity of a tone resembling the atmosphere of Agatha Christie-novels.