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Woman with Birthmark (Inspector Van Veeteren #4)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  2,788 ratings  ·  220 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
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
72nd out of 215 books — 487 voters
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg LarssonThe Ice Princess by Camilla LäckbergThe Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg LarssonThe Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell
Best Swedish Crime
10th out of 134 books — 37 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
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
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
3 1/2 entretenidas estrellas, pero...

Esto es lo que me ha pasado con esta novela, aunque estoy casi segura de que ello no ha afectado a la nota final: a mi ejemplar, de la biblioteca, le faltaban las ocho (8!) (pen)últimas páginas :O Sí, esa cara se me ha quedado, aunque la cosa ha sido tan surrealista que las páginas perdidas eran de la 292 a la 300 y me dejaron de propina la 301... así que, bueno, no es tan difícil suponer lo que pasaba en las que faltan, teniendo en cuenta el punto al que hab
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
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

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
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
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
Jaroslav Dolejš
Super detektivka. Děj je dost akční(místy občas perverzní)a strhující. 5 z 5ti
Kenneth Fredette
I've read this book before and didn't realize it until the final chapters. For those who haven't read this book, I'll not say how it ends.
Aug 02, 2014 4cats rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Another great crime reader from Hakan Nesser who deserves a bigger readership. Funny, great plotlines and just super crime novels.
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
A procedural, slow-moving, no ticking clock, all the time in the world ... or so it seems. A man gets shot and killed, two bullets in the chest, two below the belt. This repeats itself and the police is clueless to find that classic something in the distant past that connects the victims. This story might leave you cold, where it not for the author, his characters and a powerful final act.

Håkan Nesser has created Chief Inspector Van Veeteren, another iconic cop - a bit of Wallander but older, sl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Jon Frum
This is the second time I've giving a Nesser book one star. And the second time I couldn't even get half-way through the text. Goodreads gives this four stars - very interesting. I found the start of the book so unrelentingly depressing that I couldn't be bothered going on another chapter.

An old woman is being buried. It's raining - hard. Only one mourner is present, her daughter. Whose life is utter failure and misery. Are we having fun yet? Apparently, many readers are. Here, we need to accou
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.
Deborah Ideiosepius
Very enjoyable Scandinavian crime fiction.

Although it is a '#4' it is completely readable as a stand alone, it is a bit bleaker than several other Swedish crime novels I have read but the style completely suites the story.

A woman is leaving her mothers funeral, she was the only mourner and just before her mother died she charged her with doing something very specific. Though we gradually realise the 'something' involves killing people off a list the reason is not spelled out for us.

Skip to Inspe
Enjoyable (4th in series, which I am reading in order but perhaps it is less important with this series than with some). Old-fashioned police procedural (written in 1996, so it has taken a while to reach English translation). We know, more or less, who the murderer is from the beginning (although we never learn her name), but the motive - revenge - is revealed in detail only slowly. Although the author is Swedish the setting is not - it is an unidentified European country, with landscape which d ...more

A great Swedish mystery. Our chief detective is divorced. He’s a chess player and classical music enthusiast. He seems like a great guy without the overwhelming quirks that a lot of literary and TV detectives have these days. Men from a military graduation class thirty years ago are being killed one by one; two shots to the chest; two to the groin. While the mystery unravels, we get a bit of the local color of urban Sweden. This story, one of a series of Inspector Van Veeteren mysteries, also ha
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
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.
I was really impressed, especially by the last 30 or so pages, when everything needed to be tidied up, but when the book became VERY lyrical and somber. I've never read such a great finish to a mystery.

This was my first book by Hakan Nesser. I love mysteries, and my favorites are Henning Mankell, Ruth Rendell, Arnaldur Indridason, Karin Fossum, Morag Joss (For some strange reason, I never got into the Dragon Tattoo series) -- I love the doom and gloom of Scandinavian mystery writers. I guess si
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
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Scandinavian Crim...: Woman with Birthmark by Håkan Nesser 1 22 Mar 10, 2012 01:12PM  
  • When the Devil Holds the Candle (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #4)
  • The Torso (Inspector Huss #3)
  • The Shadow Woman (Inspector Winter #2)
  • The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (Martin Beck #2)
  • Arctic Chill (Inspector Erlendur #7)
  • The Fourth Man
  • Frozen Moment (Christian Tell, #1)
  • The Blood Spilt (Rebecka Martinsson, #2)
  • The Demon of Dakar (Ann Lindell, #7)
  • The Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries (Wallander, #9)
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 about Håkan Nesser...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Van Veeteren (10 books)
  • 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)
  • Der unglückliche Mörder. (Inspector Van Veeteren #7)
  • Der Tote vom Strand. (Inspector Van Veeteren #8)
  • Die Schwalbe, die Katze, die Rose und der Tod (Inspector Van Veeteren #9)
  • Sein letzter Fall. (Inspector Van Veeteren #10)
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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“He's not so thick, said Reinhart. It's mainly a question of tempo.” 0 likes
“If you are born on the edge of a barrel of shit, you have to accept the likelihood of falling into it now and then.” 0 likes
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