The Inspector and Silence by Håkan Nesser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In Hakan Nesser's "The Inspector and Silence" the Chief Inspector Van Veeteren plans his vacations and contemplates retirement. However, he is called to aid in explaining suspicious happenings at a camp for girls organized by a shady religious sect. Soon a brutal murder is discovered, and Van Veeteren has to cancel his vacation plans.
I do not particularly care for book series, but at least in this series the author tries to make each book a little different rather than rewriting the same story using different names. "The Inspector and Silence" is a little whimsical, a little philosophical, and quite literary. It is a lot of fun to read for people who are into these things. Particularly the first half of the book is quite slow but delightful from a literary point of view. In the second half the writing gets more pedestrian but the author speeds up the plot instead and prepares a rather unexpected denouement.
The descriptions of the sect members and their behaviors are quite believable. Characterizations of many police members are rather thin, but then the descriptions of all Van Veeteren's meals and his constant eating and drinking are great. The conversations between the Chief Inspector and Andrej Przebuda are a gem.
I love Nesser's literary device of placing the action of the novel in a non-existent country that is a cross between the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, and Poland and using a mixture of names coming from respective languages, although I realize it is most fun for people (such as myself) who were born in one of these countries.
Four solid stars.
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