Woman with Birthmark (Inspector Van Veeteren #4)
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Woman with Birthmark (Inspector Van Veeteren #4)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  2,004 ratings  ·  182 reviews
A mother’s dying wish sealed with a deadly promise. Four men with a secret they thought they’d buried decades ago. A detective in love. A man desperate to live despite the shadow of his guilty past.

After hearing her mother’s deathbed confession and following the dreary funeral, Maria Adler realizes she has no other option but to seize upon her mother’s imperative to do som...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 14th 2009 by Pantheon (first published 1996)
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg LarssonThe Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg LarssonThe Snowman by Jo NesbøThe Redbreast by Jo Nesbø
Scandinavian/Nordic Mysteries
58th out of 188 books — 374 voters
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonThe Ice Princess by Camilla LäckbergThe Dogs of Riga by Henning MankellThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg LarssonSun Storm by Åsa Larsson
Best Swedish Crime
11th out of 99 books — 27 voters

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Community Reviews

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Nancy Oakes
Hakan Nesser is another one of my all-time favorite writers of Scandinavian crime fiction. Woman With Birthmark is #4 in this series featuring Inspector Van Veeteren, a veteran detective in Maardam, whose location remains a mystery in itself. These books you can read as stand-alone novels, but there's always a plus to reading a series in order.

A solitary mourner at a funeral is at the heart of a baffling series of crimes. A young woman made a death-bed promise to her mother and has cleared the...more
May 05, 2009 Stephen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Henning Mankell fans
Recommended to Stephen by: Angie Howard
You must be a fan of the police procedural genre of mystery fiction to read Hakan Nesser. I'll go one further and say you have to be a fan of Scandinavian gloom as it effects the characters and the plot. If you read and enjoyed Henning Mankell, then you know exactly what I mean. The atmosphere is somehting altogether different from a book set almost anywhere else on the planet.

Also, you are reading in translation. Yes, I know, all translators are traitors, but without them we wouldn't have half...more
Jim Coughenour
A few months ago it was the girl with the dragon tattoo. Now there's a woman with a birthmark. Is this a Swedish sub-genre?

I'm enjoyed this one more than Mind's Eye. There not much of a mystery here, and the crimes are more observed than solved - so it's not much of a policier either. The pleasure is all in the writing - especially in the mildly morose character of Van Veeteran. I still prefer Håkan Nesser to most American writers. Maybe I'm just an American sucker for that world-weary sophistic...more
Maria João Fernandes
"Há males que vêm por bem."

Depois de mais de 30 anos, um segredo horrível vai, finalmente, ser desvendado. Será agora feita a justiça, que foi ignorada no passado?

O quarto livro da série do Inspector Van Veeteren começa com um funeral de uma mulher, ao qual apenas a sua solitária filha assiste. Dias antes do Natal, ao lado da campa da sua mãe, a mulher de 29 anos reflecte sobre a vida miserável da progenitora, tão semelhante à sua, e promete vingança àqueles que considera responsáveis pelos dois...more
Woman with Birthmark is the fourth novel in the Inspector Van Veeteren series, but you don’t need to have read the other three to understand everything. At least I haven’t read the rest of the series and I don’t think I missed anything important (or anything at all). Maybe if you know what happens in the previous books you have more insight on the characters, but they are described here as if the reader is meeting them for the first time.

The characters are well written. As is it a group of chara...more
Mark Stevens
The Shadows’ “The Rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt” (a gem of an instrumental) plays a key role in “Woman With Birthmark.” Like that song, there’s something clean, effortless and neatly scripted about Nesser’s plot, too. The song is played over the telephone by a woman stalking various men—men who later are shot in violent and intentionally up-close-and-personal ways. Also like that song, the feeling of reading this is light and airy. There’s a nice build and a nifty crescendo. Nesser shifts point...more

Woman with Birthmark
Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery, March 15, 2012
By Ellen Rappaport (Florida)
This review is from: Woman with Birthmark (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) (Paperback)
I've read all of the books in the Van Veeteren series and find that this Scandinavian author is a master among mystery masters. This particular book is no different-spellbinding and intense. I read this book on my Kindle.

The author begins by bringing the reader to a cemetary where an internment is takin...more
Swedish crime novels are all the rage. This is a departure from my usual Italian mysteries but I became familiar with Chief Inspector Van Veeteren by watching international mysteries on TV. The auther, Haken Nesser, depicts Van Veeteren as a thoughtful and dutiful dectective in the last few years of his work. Indeed, in some stories he has retired to running a book store but can't give up the investigation work...much to the chagrin of his former subordinates. This is the first book I've read fr...more
Woman with Birthmark (or in Swedish "Kvinna med födelsemärke") is a 1996 novel by Håkan Nesser, which won the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award in the same year. The English translation of the book was released in 2009 at the time when there was a Swedish Crime Fiction hype in the market. The book has also found its way into Television and a Swedish mini-series covered the novel in 2001.

A brief Summary:

Inspector Van Veeteren and his associates are left bewildered by the curious murder of a man shot...more
The book opens with a woman standing in a cemetry, a lone mourner at her mother's funeral. A man is then shot twice in his chest and twice below the belt following a series of phone calls where nothing is said but music is played down the line. Shortly after a second man, seeminly unconnected is killed in the same way.

Inspector Van Veeteren is struggling with a cold but must find some sort of connection between the two men before someone else dies. This book switches between the viewpoint of the...more
Od dawna gdzie tylko mam okazję opowiadam jakie to fajne książki pisze Håkan Nesser. Uczciwie przy tym dodaję, że jednak seria o inspektorze Barbarottim jest sporo ciekawsza niż starsze książki o komisarzu Van Veeterenie. Kolejnym tom przygód tego ostatniego utwierdza mnie w moim przekonaniu. Książka jest na pewno inna od większości kryminałów, ale “tego czegoś”, co było obecne w praktycznie każdej z pięciu części serii o Barbarottim tu jednak nie ma.

Håkan Nesser zawsze ma do pokazania ciekawy d...more
Yes. Another swedish crime thriller. Enjoyable, not unlike watching a crime tv show I suppose. But with a title like that I had to read it right?
This time Van Veeteren is after a female killer who is not only way ahead of him but also her prey. A really gloomy story actually, but the way it's offset with light banter and character insights into the police force it feels "light" rather than dark for some reason.
THE WOMAN WITH A BIRTHMARK by Hakan Nesser is the fourth instalment in the series of crime novels set in the fictitious city of Maardam, featuring the previously a bit dark and brooding, but a very jolly and witty in this book, Inspector Van Veeteren. The novel starts with a funeral, where a daughter vows to undertake a mission in the memory of her mother. She changes name, takes up a new address and sets the plan in motion. Then we are confronted with a murder, of a seemingly dull businessman....more
Inspector Van Veeteren's character, along with his fellow police officers, are a little bit "Harry Hole Lite." A dark, Nordic tale, well told, but less complex in plot line than that of most Nesbo's work. Still, a bit more humorous throughout, which made for a very enjoyable read. I will read more of this series.
The trouble with reading a book in translation is that you never know how true it is to the original. The title, Woman with Birthmark, for example, seems to be missing a couple words, as do many sentences in the book. The dialog seems especially stilted with short, choppy sentences back and forth (and back and forth again). It seems almost as if the characters are talking in shorthand, which doesn't feel natural.

There isn't much of a mystery. We know who did it from the start and can guess at th...more
An amazing display with humor, great character sketches, and a tightly woven plot.
I like this writer and his characters, but as a mystery this one was pretty bad.
Carey Combe
So well written can’t believe that I wanted the murderer to succeed!
Was pretty predictable and a weak ending.
Mike Cuthbert
I was new to the works of Hakan Nesser but I sense this is a good one to start with. Nesser’s lead detective is Inspector Van Veeteren. He leads a corps of intrepid inspectors and officers of Swedish police as they chase down a serial killer all over Sweden. The killer has a master plan for a rather obvious reason and she is as relentless as she is deadly. The clue to her gender is her M.O.: she kills her victims by shooting them three times in the upper body and twice “below the belt.” The piec...more
Title: Woman with Birthmark: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery (Book 4)
Author: Håkan Nesser
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Police Procedural
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
ISBN: 9780307387233
Translation Release Date: March 9, 2010
Rating: 2 1/2
[Read | Skim] [Buy |Borrow]

I read the previous Van Veeteren mysteries and I have to say this is my least favorite. Woman with Birthmark is for all intents and purposes a police procedural. It follows the detectives knocking on do...more
Linda  Branham Greenwell
Hakan Nesser does not disappoint in his latest Inspector Van Veeteren mystery, "Woman With Birthmark". The storyline itself is intriguing - a young woman is so affected by her mother's dying words that she undertakes a vendetta against those she deems wrongdoers. She undergoes a major transformation, changes her appearance, and `returns' as a sort of grim reaper, dispatching said wrongdoers with aplomb. Prior to each murder, there is a phone call, with identical music [in each case] being heard...more
After hearing her mother's deathbed confession and following the dreary funeral, Maria Adler realizes she has no other option but to seize upon her mother's imperative to do something. Dissolving the life she loathes, Maria changes her appearance and disappears. When she emerges, revenge is her sole occupation. Inspector Van Veeteren and his associates are left bewildered by the curious murder of a man shot twice in the heart and twice below the belt. He was a quiet, utterly dull man, and the on...more
This is the fourth in a series. This is a series that should be read in order - if someone picked this one up and started with it without reading the ones that came before, he or she would quit after not too long. It's necessary to build a relationship through the earlier titles in the series with the grumpy lead detective, Van Veeteren.

I finally realized that there is something odd about the setting for these novels. Yes, they are Swedish detective novels because the author is Swedish and write...more
Nesser, Hakan. WOMAN WITH BIRTHMARK. (1996, U.S.-2009). *****. This is the latest mystery in the author’s Inspecter Van Veeteren series. I’ve only read one other novel by Hakan, “Borkmann”s Point,” and thought it was terrific. This one was, too. The writing is very simple; clear and lucid. The plot moves ahead relentlessly, as we follow the action through the actions and thoughts of Van Veeteren and his crew. The story starts out with a mother’s dying wish to her daughter. We can’t hear the wish...more
Kathleen Hagen
Woman With Birthmark, by Hakan Nesser, A-minus, narrated by Simon Vance, produced by Highbridge Company, downloaded from audible.com.

After hearing her mother's deathbed confession and following the dreary funeral, Maria Adler realizes she has no other option but to seize upon her mother's
imperative to do something, to take action, to revenge the wrong done to herself and her mother. She cuts off all her contacts, changes her appearance, disappears, and then reappears only to wreak vengeance. Ins...more
Julie Failla Earhart
First there was the British Invasion back in the 1960s when rock bands flooded the U. S. Now it seems that Swedish crime writers have taken the country be storm. First I discovered Henning Mankell (through PBS’ “Masterpiece Mystery!”) and now thanks to my local library, I have stumbled upon Hakan Nesser and his Inspector Van Veeteren mysteries.
In this fourth outing, Woman with a Birthmark, the way the murders occur makes the Inspector cringe. Each dead man suffers two shots to the chest and two...more
Another Swedish mystery, this one dealing with Inspector Van Veteeren and his group, who are maybe a more interesting and diverse group than I'm used to-- some of them, like his lead detective (Reinhart?) and female detective Ewa Moreno, both play significant parts in the story.

This time around, at least, the mystery itself isn't all that interesting-- a woman on a plot to kill the four men who raped her mom thirty years earlier-- but Nesser gives a few twists that are kind of interesting, if mi...more
I turned to this Hakan Nesser mystery after getting bored with Frances Mayes memoir Under the Tuscan Sun. After reading about her dinner with other expat literati living in Italy, I couldn't go on. I needed plot, action, suspense, and Nesser delivered exactly what I wanted. I love Inspector Van Veeteren. He's an older detective (been working for almost 30 years), divorced, plays chess, loves his beer, chews pensively on toothpicks, succumbs to his weakness and invariably bums a cigarette from hi...more
Very interesting read. The antagonist is never truly defined or identified until the end. Even then you only get a glimpse of what she was like. Which in turn upsets the applecart of detective novels. Never knowing the who, what, why. Thoroughly enjoyed. The lead protagonist Van Veeteren and his team of detectives have no evidence, minimal leads. Murder after murder with no suspect, no motive other that a vague reference to an incident that is not defined . That happened 30 years previously.
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Scandinavian Crim...: Woman with Birthmark by Håkan Nesser 1 18 Mar 10, 2012 01:12PM  
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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) The Return (Inspector Van Veeteren #3) The Inspector and Silence (Inspector Van Veeteren #5) Münsters Fall (Inspector Van Veeteren #6)

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