Chief Inspector Van Veeteren knew that murder cases were never as open-and-shut as this one: Janek Mitter woke one morning with a brutal hangover and discovered his wife of three months lying facedown in the bathtub, dead. With only the flimsiest excuse as his defense, he is found guilty of a drunken crime of passion and imprisoned in a mental institution.
But Van Veeteren's suspicions about the identity of the killer are borne out when Mitter also becomes a murder victim. Now the chief inspector launches a full-scale investigation of the two slayings. But it may only be the unspoken secrets of the dead - revealed in a mysterious letter that Mitter wrote shortly before his death - that will finally allow Van Veeteren to unmask the killer and expose the shocking root of this sordid violence.
©1993 Original material by Håkan Nesser. Originally published in Sweden as Det grovmaskiga nätet by Albert Bonniers Förlag AB, Stockholm. Translation © 2008 by Laurie Thompson. Recorded by arrangement with Pantheon, an imprint of the Knopf Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. (P)2011 HighBridge Company
"Snappish, sardonic, unsentimental, depressed, and quite possibly psychic, Van Veeteren is the most appealingly unlovable hero since TV's crabby physician House." (O, The Oprah Magazine)
"In a class of its own.... This stunning novel by one of Sweden's foremost crime writers might have been written as a script for Alfred Hitchcock. (The Sunday Times)
"Mind's Eye satisfies on every level. It is an intelligently written, cleverly plotted tale, populated with believable characters.... Nesser was superb right out of the gate." (BookPage)
I am exploring Scandinavian mysteries but also like mysteries set in other parts of the world. I also like reading Literary Fiction.
I usually don't like mysteries that jump around and don't stay focused on the detective.
This mystery focuses on the point of view of a murder suspect and also the detective. Still, the writing and plotting is so good, and the detective appealing, so it did not matter. I really eased into this book without any trouble and enjoyed it tremendously.
The narration is excellent. Van Veteeren is, on the surface, not very interesting, but then we realize he is weirdly intuitive. He's quite likeable ultimately.
This is not a novel full of insane serial killers and gore (although it has its graphic parts). It's not Jo Nesbo (thank God, I think Nesbo is horrible). It's not frenetic and freaky like Lars Kepler (The Hypnotist). It is more in line with Henning Mankell, though Van Veteeren, based on this one novel, does not seem as troubled as Wallander, and is not put in as many adventure type situations.
Bottom Line: Nesser is a smart writer and this book is very solid and satisfying. The mystery is smart and keeps you interested. I am looking forward to experiencing the other books in the series. I'm saving them and I'm going to pace myself so as to not burn through them too quick.
This story held my interest, but the characters weren't really well developed. Too much happens at the end without sufficient story and character development to support it.
Most interesting aspect is finding out what happened during the suspected murderer's blackout. Least interesting is the character development of the victim and the murderer.
As usual, Simon Vance's performance was outstanding. He can modify his voice to suit a multitude of characters without sounding strange. He is just very easy to listen to -- one of the best readers I've heard.
A very dark kind of mystery, writing reminiscent of The Stranger by Camus, but very good. I did figure out the killer before the author disclosed it but that may have been somewhat intentional.
Nesser's work is dark, engaging, well-paced, eloquent, with a bit of wit and introspection to spice it up. This is a psychological thriller, a procedural. The wit is more reserved than that of Adler-Olson. I'm anxious to listen to the next book in the series. The narration is perfect.
Scandinavian thrillers have a strong dependency on the main character. There's Carl Morck, Lisbeth Salander, and Erlandur who are my favorites. The main detective in mind's eye just wasn't interesting or believable. At one point he makes a bet that he'll solve the case or quit and go on vacation and I just didn't care. Perhaps the books get better as you progress...
Yes, I would give it one more try
don't know - maybe back To Michael Connelly
I like the narrator
There was nothing wrong with the characters but it was confusing to switch the story back and forth between the characters
I hated the abrupt ending
This was one of those audio books I couldn't put down. Listened to it in just two sittings. I enjoyed the story, but wish the setting had come a bit more into play in this book.
The main character, Inspector Von Veeteren, is a bit of a curmudgeon, but being a huge Morse fan, I can't complain about that. I wonder what his toothpick budget is on top of the cigarettes.
Anyway, the story is what sells this book and the characters of the victims and the suspects more than the police. The plot is definitely different to most standard mystery novels. Complex, but not overly complicated. I can't wait to listen to another book by this author.
Twists and turns
The suspect ;)
His measured reading and distinctive voice
I was surprised!
This was a pleasant introduction to Van Veeterem, even though there is little of his character revealed in this first novel.
On a quest to find and enjoy yet another Scandinavian mystery author, I'm thankful to a reading friend who introduced me to the first DI Van Veeteren mystery series. These are psychological police procedurals of the first order. They very much remind of the series by authors Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo.
DI Van Veeteren chews on toothpicks while he thinks, and depends on his sense of intuition in discovering his suspects---solving 19 out of 20 cases with this assurance. In this first case a viciously murdered wife is found dead in the same apartment as her husband, who has lost his memory of that evening. He is promptly convicted and put in a mental institution, but something doesn't quit set with Van Veeteren. He's intuition is proved correct when the husband is murdered in the mental hospital.
The book continues with the process of finding the real murderer. This 'process' definitely 'makes' this DI a winning character, and I can see why this author is so popular in his home country. The translation is very good, and adds to the story. Looking forward to reading lots more in this series from Sweden!!
I don't know how Nesser has won awards for his mysteries (including this one) if this first in the series is anything to go by. I'm a huge fan of Scandinavian crime writers (Mankell, Sjowall and Wahloo) but this one left me cold. The author "cheats" by simply withholding information so that only the detective (who is poorly developed as a character) knows stuff and we as the audience are just told that he has figured it out. For me, the point of mysteries is 1) getting to know the characters and 2) following along and trying to solve the crime myself. This book allowed for neither.
The narrator, Simon Vance, also left a great deal to be desired. So many wonderful narrators out there, but this fellow really fell flat - poor at nuancing various characters so you know who is speaking, and fairly expressionless all around. Nesser and Vance are a particularly bad combo because Nesser has the irritating habit of starting chapters with "he", leaving the reader with no idea which "he" in the story is meant. Add to that Vance's inability to voice multiple distinctive characters and the result is a lot of confusion. After a while I stopped caring. If you haven't already, go for the Henning Mankell series, or the marvelous early books by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, from which Mankell borrows *heavily.*
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