Michael's Reviews > Mind's Eye

Mind's Eye by Håkan Nesser
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Jan 25, 09

Read in January, 2009

This seems to be a common pattern that foreign detective novels from a series are translated out of order - several other Inspector Van Veeteren novels came out in English before this one. Thus the book, set in the "current day" is now describing a Sweden of almost twenty years ago.

Presumably publishers do this (out of order) because they decide that one of the later titles is more compelling for an English speaking audience - and that the first one is weaker. It certainly seems possible in this case. Most police procedural series of this kind develop the main character and his supporting characters clearly in the first title in the series - that doesn't happen here. Instead most of the character development, such as it is, relates to the victim and various suspects.

Generally translated detective novels provide the benefit of an authentic description of the setting (rather than an American interpretation). In this case, the setting and crime don't intersect with anything particularly Swedish, so other than the names of people and places, the novel could have taken place in some American city.

In this first Van Veeteren novel the author made him too cranky and idiosyncratic otherwise to be believable. As I recall, that changes in later volumes in the series.

In short, I was a little disappointed. But I did finish it.
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