Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swedish Crime Fiction

Borkmann’s Point
by Hakan Nesser

There comes a point in any investigation where you have all the information you need to solve the case. Anymore can sometimes help, but usually it confuses and delays the solution. A good detective is one who recognizes that point.

Like all police inspectors in the modern mystery novel, Hakan Nesser’s DCI Van Veeteren is an older, divorced, slightly depressed, plodding thinker. Slowly putting information together our intrepid DCI investigates a serial axe murderer in a sleepy coastal town in Northern Europe. Called in after the second death he works with the local police force ill equipped to handle a murder investigation.

Nothing seems to go right as he, the soon to be retired chief of police, and the two young local detectives pull at loose ends, hoping something will lead them anywhere. After a further murder and the disappearance of one of their own, Van Veeteren slowly puts the story together – but is it in time to save a life?

Not as smoothly written as a Mankell novel, it was still quite good. And for what it’s worth, I sensed who the bad guy was about 30 pages into it, but I did keep second guessing myself as I read. This was Nesser’s first books of many, and given my love for Swedish crime fiction I look forward to reading the next one. Unfortunately they only started translating his books into English in 2006, so only four have been done so far.

Håkan Nesser (born February 21, 1950) is one of Sweden’s most successful authors who has written a number of novels, mostly crime fiction. He has won Best Swedish Crime Novel Award three times, and his novel Carambole won the Glass Key award in 2000. His books have been translated from Swedish into Norwegian, Finnish, German, French, Polish, Danish, English and Estonian. His first novel was published in 1988, but he worked as a teacher until 1998 when he became a full-time author, after having become extremely successful as a heavyweight crime writer with his Van Veeteren series. Hakan Nesser has published 20 books in Swedish. Four of them have so far been translated to English.

Mormon Mention: NONE

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