The Return: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery
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The Return: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery (Inspector Van Veeteren #3)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  2,489 ratings  ·  161 reviews
The author of Borkmann's Point spins a story that leaves even the most veteran crime novel readers chilled.
A new case for Chief Inspector Van Veeteren - the complicated history of a nearly perfect murder. On a sunny August day a man is released from prison. On a rainy April day children at play find his corpse. The fact that the dead man is Leopold Verhaven only becomes c...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Doubleday Canada (first published 1995)
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Another fast paced, brilliant thriller from Hakan Nesser and his superb creation, the wonderfully grumpy Van Veeteren.

The twists and turns are like a roller coaster ride, just as I have come to expect from this utterly fantastic writer. This book is the third in the series which has been translated into English, but I think there are a few more in the intervening period which haven't, which is a shame really as they haven't really been released in order. No matter though, as these are utter clas...more
Nesser, Hakan. THE RETURN. (1995; U.S.-2007). *****. This was the second in the Inspector Van Veeteren mystery series published in the States. This time, Van Veeterren, a crusty, 57-year-old policeman on an urban Swedish force is facing a hospital stay for an operation to remove a portion of his colon. He has cancer. Although the prognosis is good, he is truly upset, though he tries not to show it. Showing it would mean giving up some of his crustiness. Just as he is about to undergo the procedu...more
I've been reading a lot of Scandinavian mystery novels recently (who knew there were enough of them to constitute an actual genre?) but this wasn't one of my favorites.

I had a hard time keeping track of all of the people in the book (which wasn't entirely necessary, but distracted me all the same) because none of them really had any characteristics beyond "detective," "witness," "victim." I'm sure this would be easier if I followed the whole series through, though.

I also found the jumps from one...more
Very nice, slow-burning novel! I find myself liking Van Vetereen more and more with each book! His inner reflections are very profound but not smug or tedious! He is cranky, funny, and super sharp...a very likable fellow indeed! And he also has an abundance of empathy for misunderstood characters, which he doesn't even realize that he has, making him even more awesome! :-)
The plot was interesting with Verhaven being a pretty fascinating character study! I would have liked a bit more insight into...more
Good points: interesting characters abound! Exotic locales (at least it seems that way in this pedestrian backwater I call home)! Several laugh out loud moments when you least expect them.

Bad points: the Dutch-to-English translation wasn't all there in a few places... whatever the author wrote didn't make the leap into the new language here and there, but not in a way that detracted from the story at all; I just wish there had been one more English-speaking editor reviewing the copy before it we...more
Maria João Fernandes
"Nem tudo é o que parece."

Em "The Return", o terceiro livro da série do sueco Håkan Nesser, o Inspector Van Veeteren prepara-se para ser internado no hospital onde irá ser operado a um cancro nos intestinos, quando um corpo sem mãos, pés e cabeça é encontrado no bosque. Inicialmente, o problema é identificar o cadáver, que esteve enrolado durante mais ou menos 8 meses, num tapete. Depois de conhecido o nome, segue-se a caça ao culpado.

É a partir da cama do hospital que Van Veeteren lidera esta i...more
Dave Riley
Another enthralling visit with Chief Inspector Van Veeteren. Very 'police procedural' and I'm keen on that -- especially the Scandinavian way with procedurals. Taking its own time to unfold while using some radical approaches to the story telling Nesser sends Van Veeteren off stage for much of the novel to recover from bowel surgery.

I loved it.

The translation from the original Swedish is also very good so that the sequences really register as what's happening is located with some very interest...more
The mystery itself--a twice-convicted murderer is killed shortly after being released from prison--was solid, but the translation was choppy. Or perhaps it wasn't the translation, but the author's writing style I found to be disconcerting. It often seemed as if relevant paragraphs or clauses in sentences were missing, which caused me to go back and re-read earlier pages to see if I had missed something. I do have some affection for the chief detective, van Veeteren, who wrestles with a heavy-dut...more
There will be absolutely no hint of spoilers in Nesser reviews from me! I found Nesser books after running out of Karin Fossum books to read. Nesser's writing is excellent and does an unbelievable job at sucking the reader in to the twisted story being laid out. For some reason, in the majority of Scandanavian mystery writers I have found, their ability to do that is second to no other countries mystery writers. The only criticism I have is that I am not happy about with Nesser's books is that i...more
Beth K.
The two Van Veeteren mysteries that I've read so far are pretty good. The characters are well developed, the plot unfolds slowly but interestingly, and the settings are well-described. But here's the real reason I read them, and will continue to do so....

Irmgaard Gellnacht
Uleczka Willmot
Katrina Berenskaya
Jurg Eschenmaa
Claus Menhevern
Andrea Valgre
Bert Schmaa
Judge Heidelbluum
Leopold Verhaven
Dr. Boegenmutter

Neuwe Blatt

Awesome, right?!
A random Scandinavian choice from a branch library. Translation is a bit iffy. The story is so-so, but told pretty well - I did want to keep reading to find out who dunnit, so that's a positive. Rather odd that the main detective is in hospital for much of the action, so we get lots of minor police bods doing bits and bobs. Great start - loved the dynamics of the class outing, wish there had been more of it. Won't bother with Nesser again, but good to read another slice of life from our friends...more
Quite enjoying this series. Swedish author but without the Scandinavian setting -indeed without any very specific setting at all. Is it Holland? Belgium? somewhere in the vicinity in a parallel universe? - I realise that quite a lot of the appeal of much crime fiction actually comes from the sense of place and geographical location, and it's a little bit disturbing not to have that, but on the other hand perhaps it makes you read the story rather than think about the incidental detail. Setting a...more
Clara Mazzi
Scarso. Molto scarso. Per niente avvincente, un movente debolissimo, sia di per sè che rispetto alla ferocia dell'assassino, completamente assente il setting che ha resto gli scrittori nordici giustamente così validi e famosi, troppi personaggi blandamente descritti che fanno solo perdere il filo, un commissario per metà stereotipato e l'altra metà senza carattere (invece di essere il "solito" alcolizzato o fumatore accanito, VV si fa uso di stuzzicadenti). Infine vecchio: ho scoperto che è stat...more
Slow & meandering, another crime thriller which reaches far in the past to solve a current, intertwined murder. The chief character is a little interesting and I look forward to reading another by this author.
Linda  Branham Greenwell
Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is ill and having surgery, but participates in solving the crime from his hospital bed.
A man is found murdered with his head cut off and his arms. the first part of the mystery is finding out who he is. The inspectors believe it is Verhaven - a man convicted of murderer and who had served two separate stretches of twelve years for killing two young women. Verhaven was a loner who was once a record-breaking middle distance runner, but was caught cheating and stripped...more
Van Veeteren thought back to what his friend Mahler had said the previous evening: Doing something at the right time is more important than what you actually do . . .

An unmissable hospital appointment is looming for Inspector Van Veeteren when a corpse is found rolled in a rotting carpet by a young child playing in a local beauty spot. Missing head and limbs, the torso is too badly decomposed for forensic identification - bar one crucial detail . . .

Circumstantial evidence soon points to a loc...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew Hecht
Oct 10, 2008 Andrew Hecht rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Andrew by: Jim Coughenour
Nesser is a genius of simplicity. His books are like those films developed with the bleach bypass process that strips out extraneous color and leaves behind a reduced, almost bland color palette, which makes for clean, efficient and beautiful prose. All the extraneous noise that accompany most novels is completely absent. Nesser leaves window dressing for other, lesser writes.

Nesser's hero Van Veeteran is similarly not flashy. He doesn't have superhuman detective prowess. He's a simple cop. He...more
I read Borkmann's Point earlier, and thought I'd give inspector Van Veeteren and the series another try. Maybe in Borkmann's Point I just got overly easily annoyed by a number of things (such as these). Well, I gave the inspector and the series another try with the Return, and this book would score equally, around 2.75 stars.

What annoyed me in this book was mostly what annoyed me in the previous book. The people felt odd (not like Scandinavian type odd either, I've worked with a bunch of them)....more
Kelanth, numquam risit ubi dracones vivunt
Buon romanzo della generazione del nord, in cui chiunque prenda una penna in mano, scrive thriller. Ormai in questo settore quando si entra in libreria e si va negli scaffali appositi sembra di leggere le guide telefoniche svedesi/norvegesi/etc.

In questo romanzo vedremo la storia di un uomo che scontata la sua seconda pena per omicidio viene, al primo giorno di libertà, barbaramente ucciso; il ritrovamento del corpo, avvenuto un puro caso, darà avvio alle indagini. Un giallo dallo stile e dalla...more
Nancy Oakes
The Return is the second book (at least in the US) by Hakan Nesser, and continues the story of Inspector Van Veeteren, a very wise detective who has pretty much seen it all. As the story opens, the Inspector is in the hospital having surgery. A decapitated torso, also minus its hands and feet, was discovered by a little girl during a pre-school class outing in the woods. There is one telltale piece of physical evidence that may identify the body and it turns out to be a recently-released murdere...more
Cover of "The Return: An Inspector Van Ve...

The Return: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery
byHåkan Nesser
Paperback, 322
Translation Published June 2007 byVintage(First Published 1995)
Translated byLaurie Thompson

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Håkan Nesser'sThe Return began with great promise but quickly fizzled. I was immediately hooked with the first line, "It was the first day and the last day" (pg. 3). With this line the reader immediately knows that nothing good is about to happen, but whose impending demise should the reader expect? Did t...more
SETTING: Small seacost town in Sweden

Up until recently, the average American mystery reader didn't have the ability to read many non-US mystery books other than those written by authors in the United Kingdom or Canada. The publishing industry has gone in new directions; and it is becoming common to see books from Scandinavia, Iceland and other "exotic" places in the States. Last year, the award-winning book BORKMANN'S POINT by Swedish author Haka...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Return, by Haken Nesser, A-minus, Narrated by Simon Vance, produced by Highbridge Audio, downloaded from

While on a field trip through the woods on the outskirts of Behren, a young girl stumbles upon a decomposing body wrapped in a carpet and lying in a ditch.
The body has no hands, feet, or head. This prolongs the period of time that it takes to identify the body, but finally he is identified as a man who served two sentences for murdering two different women. He apparently was k...more
Having read numerous Scandinavian mysteries of recent decades for library purchasing- I can say that Hakan Nesser's are my most favorite overall. Van. V. and his company of police associates are the most real cops to personal differences and methods of "work" too. They are 9 out of a possible 10 to real cops lives'/contexts of how they spend their hours etc. too. Female detective life - even more so. Ewa's life is a cop/ detective's life. The majority of American, English, other European female...more
(Originally posted @ CSI:Librarian.)

Once again, I had a great time character-wise and only a decent time when it came to the way the plot developed. Nesser sets up really intriguing cases and this was no exception, but I just feel like they really don't need to take 7 hours to be solved. I would have gotten done a lot quicker which would have curbed some of my irritation at there being a lack of suspects yet again. In the end, I couldn't bring myself to switch from CD to print because I would ha...more
When a young student stumbles upon a mutilated dead body, two questions arise:
1. Whose body is it?
2. Who murdered this person?

Of course, Inspector Van Veeteren is not officially assigned to the case. Instead, he is in the hospital for cancer surgery. Naturally, the folks assigned to the case need his sharp mind and experience in order to solve the case.

When the identity of the body is determined, Van Veeteren takes a keen interest in the case. The victim, a twice convicted murderer, sparks many...more
Inspector van Veeteren is faced with a mystery. A corpse is discovered. Identification is difficult because the hands, feet and head are missing. The body does have one distinguishing characteristic, the man only has one testicle. They also are able to determine that death occured about eight months previously. From this, they make up a list of all the people who fit the description and are reported missing. It is narrowed down to two persons. One of them was a recently released double murderer....more
Oh! This one was complicated, and only some of it was that satisfying kind of twisty murder mystery investigation. And again sometimes your detective is smarter than you and figures out things before you can because he does thing off-camera, essentially, that you the reader are not privy to, and that's annoying, but these are still a pretty solid series. I like Van Veeteren better than the Wallander series.
David Lowther
This was my second Van Veeteran novel and every bit as much fun as my first; Boorkman's Point. After Jo Nesbo and others writing Nordic noir, it's nice just to sit back and enjoy a generally non violent tale with little or no bad language and a manageable number of sexual references.

Van Veeteran solves this one from his hospital bed where he's recovering from a stomach cancer operation. While he's lying there, his (usually dim) assistants do all the leg work and deliver the results to him daily....more
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chilling story 1 8 May 06, 2010 04:15AM  
  • The Cruel Stars of the Night (Ann Lindell, #6)
  • The Torso
  • The Inner Circle (Anders Knutas, #3)
  • The Man on the Balcony (Martin Beck, #3)
  • The Shadow Woman (Inspector Winter #2)
  • He Who Fears the Wolf (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #3)
  • Arctic Chill
  • The Black Path (Rebecka Martinsson, #3)
  • Misterioso (A-gruppen, #1)
Håkan Nesser is a Swedish author and teacher who has written a number of successful crime fiction novels. He has won Best Swedish Crime Novel Award three times, and his novel Carambole won the Glass Key award in 2000. His books have been translated from Swedish into numerous languages.

Håkan Nesser was born and grew up in Kumla, and has lived most of his adult life in Uppsala. His first novel was p...more
More about Håkan Nesser...
Mind's Eye (Inspector Van Veeteren #1) Borkmann's Point (Inspector Van Veeteren #2) Woman with Birthmark (Inspector Van Veeteren #4) The Inspector and Silence (Inspector Van Veeteren #5) Münsters Fall (Inspector Van Veeteren #6)

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