I didn't enjoy this book as much as other Scandinavian crime stories I've read, and can't help but feel that the fault may be in the translation. Much of the dialogue and narrative contains trite clichés and interjections that just don't ring true for the genre. The writing seems clunky and reads more like a stage play than an engrossing thriller. I'd be curious to see what a different translator could do with it, and for that reason am giving 3 stars instead of 2. The story itself was fairly interesting although the perpetrator was easy to guess and the investigating team wasn't all that bright. I'm not interested in reading more of this series. My favorites in this genre are the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy; the Wallander books and those by Jo Nesbo.
The first in the Inspector Van Veeteren stories to be translated into English, and well worth waiting for. The story is engrossing -- a man wakes up with a horrible hangover, stumbles to the bathroom, and finds his wife dead in the bath. He is found guilty and imprisoned in a mental institution; Van Veeteren isn't altogether happy with this outcome, but sits back lets the law do its work. Then, however, the convicted killer himself is murdered, and it's time for a full scale investigation of what actually happened. Van Veeteren is an engaging detective with an ironic turn of mind that makes this a "funnier" series than most of Scandi Noir (though "funny" isn't the right word: amusing perhaps.) The plotting is careful and the story engrossing. If that weren't enough, one thing will keep me coming back -- where is all this happening? Nesser is a Swedish writer; Van Veeteren sounds Dutch: street names and such could be anywhere in Northern Europe. The country, however, remains a secret.
One of the best mysteries I've ever read! Cruising around Amazon can be such a great way to find new books. I found this book after reading a review for a mystery that I adored (The Likeness.) I clicked on the name of the reviewer and Viola! a whole new series of mysteries have fallen into my lap.
Mind's Eye is a great mystery. A man wakes up to find his wife dead in the bathtub with absolutely no memory of the night before. Is he guilty? Inspector Van Veeteren doesn't think so but he has no way to prove otherwise. When the husband ends up dead, Van Veeteren is committed to finding out the identity of the real killer once and for all. Hakan Nesser does not mess around with a lot of jibber jabber in his novels, he stays on point, keeps the action moving and thus the reader completely involved, just the way I like my mysteries. The main character, Inspector Van Veeteren is a crotchety, but lovable detective genius who is fun to follow. The story is intelligent, witty, and creepy all at the same time.
It’s a good. There aren’t enough clues to outfox the fictional detective. Buy the stage business is well handle. The team of detectives are interesting characters. The Swedish landscape and culture are not very distinctive. The lead deceive Van Veeteran has a disgusting toothpick habit but maybe that he has resumed smoking he will give it up.
This is the third novel I've read by Nesser but I didn't review the others. He won awards from the Swedish Crime Writes Academy three times with good reason in my opinion. His books are "who-done-it's" with a central character of a rough and tumble senior lead homicide detective (Van Veeteren).
I must acknowledge that with each book I experienced a brief struggle to get into each story (first few pages only) but can't identify why. Very quickly I was absorbed in all. They are solid, entertaining detective stories. Page filler is not a factor as it is with too many American authors these days. If the police are hunting some criminal, the search is described directly and simply - there's no instance of endless pages of unnecessary overkill detail. Likewise there's no overdone overly graphic descriptions of murder victims although some detail is there
No more to be said - I'd encourage pursuit of books by this author based in my initial purchases . I will order more.
I probably should be more discriminating, but I have found that all of these Scandinavian authors are very appealing. There is a dark, introversion that seems a perfect fit with the Scandinavian soul (quotation from a Danish friend on June 22nd: And now the days will just keep getting shorter and shorter...). While there is not much to establish the setting, to get a feel for Sweden, Nesser keeps us inside the head of Van Veeteren which turns out to be a fascinating landscape. Nicely twisted plot that moves along at a stately pace, accelerating appropriately as it heads toward the climax. As well, there is considerable attention paid to the dynamics of the group. Unlike many American detective novels, there are no requisite beatings to test the hero's physical and ethical courage. There is violence, but again, unlike American fiction, the violence is not gratuitous - mostly a consequence of sticking his head through the wrong door. Nesser holds his own with Nesbo, Mankell, Steinhauer, et al.