The Mind's Eye

The first of Hakan Nesser's Inspector Van Veeteren mysteries, this was only published relatively in English. It's a cracking psychological mystery, very much in the style of Maigret, with some great characters and a quirky detective at its heart.

It plays games and sometimes pokes fun at the expectations of thriller readers, and is a bit naughty in only introducing the character, who turns out to be the murderer, at the time of his arrest. Having said which you should have worked out Whodunnit by this point, even if you're not too sure of his identity. Confused? You'll understand when you read the novel.

Other thing that I found slightly odd about the book was its setting. The Kurt Wallander books, for example, are very firmly set in a particular area of Sweden, and have a distinctively Swedish feel to them. This first Van Veeteren could have been in Holland or Belgium or Sweden, even the place names could have been in any of these countries, and the detectives' names were also names that could have been found in several European countries. This may have been a deliberate act on the author's part giving us a sort of Everyman of detective fiction.

It's a good solid story though, great pace, some humour, a suitably horrible villain, and a great bunch of dedicated policeman - it is remarkably like Maigret in many ways, but also manages to bring something new and different to the genre. Hakan Nesser is definitely an author to watch.


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