Monday, 5 March 2012
The Swedish Maigret?
His writing often reads rather like a TV script, so there's a zest and drive about it which can sometimes be lacking in some more ponderous authors. The crimes are cleverly constructed and sometimes narrated from an unusual angle - as is the case with Woman with birthmark, which is told from three distinct viewpoints, the police (and individual members of the police force), the victims, and the murderer. Thinking about this post-reading, it sounds incredibly complex. The fact that it isn't is testament to Nesser's clear slick writing. The psychology of the crime is often important, and his way of handling this owes a lot to Georges Simenon - Van Veeteren is the nearest I've read to Maigret. Woman with birthmark is a complex revenge tale with some exceptionally clever twists and turns. The author has evidently thoroughly enjoyed creating his tortured murderer.
I thought this was a great read. One of the best contemporary crime stories I've read in a long time. I've always enjoyed Hakan Nesser, but if you've never encountered him before this novel would be a great place to start.