The Department of Sensitive Crimes

A Detective Varg Novel
Narrated by: David Rintoul
Series: Detective Varg, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
4 out of 5 stars (309 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $20.99

Buy for $20.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

From the beloved and best-selling author of the number one Ladies' Detective Agency series comes a lighthearted, comedic novel about a Swedish police department tasked with solving the most unusual, complicated, and, often, insignificant crimes.

The detectives who work in Malmo Police's Department of Sensitive Crimes take their job very seriously. The lead detective, Ulf Varg, prioritizes his cases above even his dog's mental health. Then, there are detectives Anna Bengsdotter, who keeps her relationship with Varg professional even as she realizes she's developing feelings for him...or, at least, for his car, and Carl Holgersson, first to arrive in the morning and last to leave, who would never read his colleagues' personal correspondence - unless it could help solve a crime, of course. Finally, there's Erik Nykvist, who peppers conversations with anecdotes about fly fishing.

Along with an opinionated local police officer named Blomquist, the Department of Sensitive Crimes takes on three extremely strange cases. First, the detectives investigate how and why a local business owner was stabbed...in the back of the knee. Next, a young woman's imaginary boyfriend goes missing. And, in the final investigation, Varg must determine whether nocturnal visitations at a local spa have a supernatural element.

Using his renowned wit and warmth, Alexander McCall Smith brings a unique perspective on Scandinavian crime. Equal parts hilarious and heartening, The Department of Sensitive Crimes is a tour de farce from a literary master.

©2019 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2019 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Department of Sensitive Crimes

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    112
  • 4 Stars
    97
  • 3 Stars
    58
  • 2 Stars
    25
  • 1 Stars
    17
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    155
  • 4 Stars
    67
  • 3 Stars
    32
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    7
Story
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    98
  • 4 Stars
    63
  • 3 Stars
    63
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    21

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Review for the Department of Sensitive Crimes

This was for the most part a wonderful story and well written. Definitely well performed. Only the last story regarding werewolves and wolves was a letdown. The first 2/3 of the book was delightful, but the interjection of the third story seemed out of place. I would have preferred the author had intertwined the storylines established in the first part of the book in the end in a humorous way. I think this could have been successful because of the oddness of the premise of the story and the nature of the “crimes“ investigated by the main character. Still I think this is a wonderful debut book, and I look forward to the next.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

It’s not like his first few

Well read but poorly recorded , volume went up and down. We listened to 20 some odd of Alexander McCall Smith’s books
really enjoyed his first two and much of the ladies number one detective agency were really really good
now this book is a little bit transparently moral and a little bit boring and not as engaging as were his books from long ago, sad to say

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

poor review is due to narration only

I didn't listen to much of the book so it is unfair to review the story-it's just that Audible requires a rating in order to proceed with the review. I could not continue listening due to the narrator. It's something I've encountered with a few other narrators - the tendency to lower the voice volume to a near whipser, usually at the end of a sentence. Due to the flucuations in volume, if I"m in my car I find myself having to raise the volume control in order to hear all of the words, and get blasted with the rest, or keep the volume at normal and then either strain to hear the rest or just resigned to miss what's said. THis narrator's voice also has that garbled tone which makes it even more difficult to make out what's said. I'm getting a refund and will be buying the kindle edition.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Too derivative

Seems like Alexander McCall Smith is recycling his ideas, just in a new setting. Quirky dog - check. Quirky car - check. Quirky detective - check. Really pretty forgettable.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Highly Amusing

This is a laugh out loud funny book. I listened to the audible edition of this book on my run, and couldn't help startling innocent strangers as I guffawed from one chapter to the next. I love the humor, the philosophy, the poignant longing of the characters to break free from their inner and outer restraints. This is the first in this new series that the author dubs "Scandinavian blanc," as opposed to Scandinavian noir, following the life and cases of detective Ulf Varg. Like McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series, this volume is episodic in structure, with no real resolution to the over-arching structure of the series, which is perhaps its only real weakness — We're left wondering what Ulf will do next, and that, I suspect, is the mark of a good series. Like life, it will take time to unfold.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

McCall Smith Time

I purchased this book a while ago and I didn't listen to it because it seems slow to start. I picked it up a few weeks later and it was interesting I couldn't put it down. The story between the stories are interesting. The narration was great and if you're a McCall fan you'll love it if not maybe you won't so much

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Enchanting

I loved this gentle mystery story. I’m a big fan of Alexander McCall Smith and was entranced by this book. His prose, characters and insights to human nature engaged me from the start. If you’re looking for lots of action and an exciting plot, this book is not for you. If you’re looking for a lovely story with unforgettable characters, I highly recommend this lovely novel.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Entertaining throughout!

While we enjoyed every bit, portions of the audiobook were difficult to hear on the highway. We had to turn up the volume considerably, which occasioned alarming intrusions of text messages or phone calls at high volume. But it was worth it!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lovely

Let’s face it: Alexander McCall Smith is a brilliant writer. An avid reader of many different types of books, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read of his & definitely enjoyed getting to know detective Varg & his associates! I look forward to reading the other books in the series. In his writing, Smith presents the Swedish landscape, Scandinavian line of thought and his characters’ points of view in such a way that is completely disarming & believable. He has a charming way of immersing readers in his various, interesting plots. Lovely!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Very quirky story

I hated this book at the beginning and was too lazy to send it back, so I kept listening and I started to like it a little more, but it’s a cross between annoying and quirky.