Now, on to the final entry on my Scandinavian (all Swedish this time) mystery writers.
The Scandi's Part 3 (The Swedish Contingent continued)
a. Borkmann's Point (#2 / 1994).
"Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is called to the sleepy coastal town of Kalbringen to assist the local police in the investigation of two recent ax murders. Soon the case turns from bad to worse when another body turns up and one of Van Veeteren’s colleagues, a young female detective, disappears without a trace. Now Van Veeteren must find the killer, and, it is hoped, his colleague, before anyone else comes to harm. Riveting and intellectually satisfying, Borkmann’s Point unfolds like a chess match where each move could prove deadly." (I gave it 4 stars)
b. The Return (#3 / 1995).
" I have mixed feelings about this mystery, the 3rd Chief Inspector Van Veeteren mystery. It moved along nicely and I liked the cast of characters. The first part of the book featured the other police inspectors as Van Veeteren is in the hospital after having undergone surgery to remove part of his intestine. He follows the investigation via reports from one of the other inspectors. The book moves back and forth from the present, the investigation, to the past, various time frames, various people, as it ties the three cases together. Van Veeteren takes over the case upon his release from hospital and investigates pretty much on his own then as the remaining police officers are assigned other tasks. I liked how the story moved along, not sure I like how it's resolved, how Van Veeteren figures out the murderer, but it's a minor detail. Overall, enjoyed my second experience with Nesser's writing. I will probably check out a few more. (3 stars)"
c. The Mind's Eye (#1 / 1993).
"The swift conviction left Van Veeteren uneasy: Janek Mitter woke one morning with a brutal hangover and his wife dead in the bathtub. With only the flimsiest defense, he is found guilty and imprisoned in a mental institution. But when Mitter is murdered in his bed, Van Veeteren regrets not following his gut and launches an investigation into the two murders. As the chief inspector delves deeper, the twisted root of these violent murders will shock even him."
|Maj Sjowall / Per Wahloo|
a. Roseanna (#1 / 1965).
"This is the first Martin Beck police procedural and I found it very interesting. I've found in some cases that the translation of Scandinavian mysteries can be hit or miss. This translation was excellent and helped portray Sjowall's style and story-telling very well. I liked the methodical way the story is approached, the hit and miss of the investigation, the boring aspects of waiting for a break when there are no clues. Martin Beck is a tired police investigator, not happy with his family life and gets deeply involved in trying to solve this case. The mystery is interesting, a dead girls body dredged up by a boat cleaning up a canal. The case involves the investigation, first trying to identify the young woman and then, trying to solve her murder. Excellent story and nicely tense ending. (4 stars)"
b. The Abominable Man (#7 / 1971).
"On a quiet night a high-ranking police officer, Nyland, is slaughtered in his hospital bed, brutally massacred with a bayonet. It's not hard to find people with a motive to kill him - in fact, the problem for Detective Inspector Martin Beck is how to narrow the list down to just one suspect."
c. The Man Who Went Up In Smoke (#3 / 1963).
"The masterful second novel in the Martin Beck series of mysteries by the internationally renowned crime writing duo Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, finds Beck searching for a well-known Swedish journalist who has disappeared without a trace. Inspector Martin Beck of the Stockholm Homicide Squad has his summer vacation abruptly terminated when the top brass at the foreign office pack him off to Budapest to search for Alf Matsson, a well-known Swedish journalist who has vanished. Beck investigates viperous Eastern European underworld figures and--at the risk of his life--stumbles upon the international racket in which Matsson was involved. With the coolly efficient local police on his side and a predatory nymphet on his tail, Beck pursues a case whose international implications grow with each new clue."
a. Faceless Killers (#1 / 1991).
"This is the first book in the Swedish Wallander series. I've enjoyed the TV series previously and overall I enjoyed this introduction to the series. There were flaws, I think partly due to the translation. But I liked the mystery, Wallander is a flawed personality, with family and personal issues. But he is dogged, not always correct with his assumptions, but he sticks with his case, the violent murder of two elderly farmers. The investigation wanders down many paths, involving a mysterious past for the husband and also an inbred racism in his town. I can't say Wallander is a great detective, there are many stumbles and pratfalls along the way but he relies on his gut instinct. Does it help him ultimately solve the case? You'll have to read to find out. A solid 3.5 stars and interesting introduction to this series."
"I'm surprised I've only read two books in Henning Mankell's Wallander series. It's probably because I've watched both the original sub-titles series and Kenneth Brannagh's own interpretation of the books that I think I've read more. Anyway I enjoyed The Fifth Woman the seventh book very much.
Wallander has returned from a vacation in Rome with his father, a chance for them to rekindle their relationship. On his return he is thrown immediately into a mystery; a bizarre gruesome murder of an elder man. He is found on his property impaled on bungie stakes (his bridge having been sawed through to make him fall). This begins an investigation involving all of the detectives in Wallander's division. We get the perspective of the perpetrator which adds to the interest. Other murders occur over the course of the story and as well, Wallander must deal with the death of his father. This leads him to spend considerable time mulling his future; does he want to retire, does he want to buy a house, a dog and encourage his girl friend to move from Latvia to live with him? As well, Citizen Militias are forming to take the law into their own hands.
All makes for a rich, detailed mystery story. At time Wallander gets on my nerves; he can be hesitant, quick to anger, doubt his abilities. But at the same time, these characteristics make Wallander more human and realistic. His team is also an excellent mix of people. The story takes its time developing and the investigation at times runs to a halt as they search for other clues and information. But it is also so well written that it seems to move along at a nice pace belying its length.
All in all, I enjoyed very much and I hope I won't take so much time to get on with the next story. (4 stars)"
c. Firewall (#9 / 1998).
"A body is found at an ATM the apparent victim of heart attack. Then two teenage girls are arrested for the brutal murder of a cab driver. The girls confess to the crime showing no remorse whatsoever. Two open and shut cases. At first these two incidents seem to have nothing in common, but as Wallander delves deeper into the mystery of why the girls murdered the cab driver he begins to unravel a plot much more involved complicated than he initially suspected. The two cases become one and lead to conspiracy that stretches to encompass a world larger than the borders of Sweden."
NOTE - I didn't necessarily like these next two authors. It may have had more to do with the translations. Anyway, be forewarned, even though I'm not the be-all and end-all in book critiques.. :0))
|Leif G.W. Persson|
a. He Who Kills the Dragon (#2 / 2008).
"I was quite disappointed in this story. I had watched the TV series based on the books, the setting switched from Sweden to the US West coast and enjoyed the humour of the series. But with the book, I got none of the humour and really a disappointing mystery. Backstrom is a gruff, racist, sexist cop in Stockholm, recently moved to a new appointment. He and his team are involved trying to solve a murder and the story rambles around introducing characters and the plot. The ending sort of came out of left field and wasn't really satisfying. Ah well. They can't all be a favourite. (2 stars)"
a. Detective Inspector Huss (1998).
"I kept trying to like this story and unfortunately just couldn't finish. I don't know if I should blame the author or the translator. It's written very amateurishly, doesn't flow, seems almost high schoolish. The plot looked very interesting and I've enjoyed all of the other Scandinavian fiction I've read so far. This one didn't work. I read 200 pages and probably could have finished, but I finally felt that to put more effort into this book would take away from other books I want to read. Sorry for the bad review. Maybe with a different translation, it might flow better and sound more professional. Sorry again. (2 stars)"
Synopsis - "One of the most prominent citizens of Göteborg, Sweden, plunges to his death off an apartment balcony, but what appears to be a “society suicide” soon reveals itself to be a carefully plotted murder. Irene Huss finds herself embroiled in a complex and high-stakes investigation. As Huss and her team begin to uncover the victim’s hidden past, they are dragged into Sweden’s seamy underworld of street gangs, struggling immigrants, and neo-Nazis in order to catch the killer."
So there you go, folks. If you want to try any Scandinavian mystery writers, please feel free to try some of the ones I've highlighted in my past three entries. Let me know what you think. Enjoy the rest of your week!