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The Strange Case of the Moderate Extremists

(Detective Varg 0.8)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  300 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Detective Ulf Varg from the Department of Sensitive Crimes is often called upon to investigate unusual matters. But rarely is he asked to conduct an inquiry on behalf of his own family. Is such a thing ethical? Adding to Ulf’s moral discomfort is the fact that he does not exactly see eye to eye with his younger brother Bjorn—a leading player in one of Sweden’s right-wing p ...more
Kindle Edition, 73 pages
Published February 26th 2019 by Vintage
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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  300 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Alexander McCall Smith almost always charms me, and The Case of the Moderate Extremists is no exception. The title alone is lovely. I’m not sure where this one fits in, but it seems to be part of a nascent series set in Malmo, Sweden featuring Detective Ulf Varg who heads the “Department of Sensitive Crimes”. This one is really the length of a novella. The crimes are not particularly serious, but the story features McCall Smith’s typical quirky characters and thoughtful human observations. It se ...more
This is a quirky & charming short story from the author of the “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series & many other books.

Ulf Varg is a detective with the Malmo PD but you’ve probably never heard of his unit. He heads up the Dept. of Sensitive Crimes & their case load is a little…uh…unconventional. Take his current investigation. At a recent Cat Show, someone introduced a purebred Burmese named Duchess to a scruffy tomcat from the wrong side of the tracks. Needless to say, the resul
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This short story ebook felt very meh
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“If there was one thing you learned in the Department of Sensitive Crimes it was that the obvious solution was often misleading. Life was obvious, yes, but behind the obvious, the self-evident, there lay any number of other lively possibilities.”

The Strange Case of the Moderate Extremists is a kindle short in the Detective Varg series by popular British author, Alexander McCall-Smith. Swedish Detective Ulf Varg first appeared in the 2013 Valentine’s Day short story, Varg in Love. Now part of the
I read the first book in the Department of Sensitive Crimes when it was published in December and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have read all of Alexander McCall Smith’s Ladies’ Number 1 Detective Agency series, and the entire 44 Scotland Street books, as well as many of his other books.

This short 88-page book serves as an introduction to the author’s new series. He writes cozy stories which charm the reader with much wit, wisdom, a philosophy of values, and good humour.

I cannot give this novella
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
This short story introduces us to Alexander McCall Smith's latest quirky character, Ulf Varg.
Ulf is a senior member of the Department of Sensitive Crimes, which investigates unusual cases. His current case concerns sabotage ...of a purebred cat. The owner wants justice for her feline who was caged with a tomcat resulting in a litter of undesirable kittens and ruining the good name of the cat breeder herself.

Ulf's greatest asset is his thoughtful observation of people and their behavior. This as
Susan Johnson
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
This is a short novella in the new Swedish detective series McCall Smith is writing about the Department of Sensitive Crimes. This is a really off beat group and they investigate crimes that really don't belong anywhere else. This one involves two cases. One is a tom cat who ends up mating with a purebred. Was it sabotage? The other involves Ulf's (department head) brother and the chicanery in his extremely odd political party.

I really enjoyed this, in fact better than the debut novel. It has
Bookish Devil
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detective Ulf Varg from the Department of Sensitive Crimes is often tasked with the job of solving cases of unusual nature. In this novella, he finds himself handling 2 puzzling cases which he tries to solve along with his compatriot Anna. The cases aren't as complex as you would imagine but somehow the narration manages you to keep you absorbed in it. The detective Ulf's character was sketched nicely, especially his background which gives you a glimpse of the kind of person he is. I have read a ...more
Dini Kamayana
This is my first read of anything written by Alexander McCall Smith. I was immediately attracted to it because of the title—I mean, how can you not be intrigued by a title about Moderate Extremists, whatever that might be?

This novella introduces us to the characters of the Malmo Police Department of Sensitive Crimes, which is composed of Ulf Varg, Anna Bengsdottor and Carl (who apparently never leaves the office, but whose unexplained absence wasn’t acknowledge in the novella). The department is
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Strange Case of the Moderate Extremists is a Vintage Short by author Alexander McCall Smith. Swedish Detective Ulf Varg is a member of The Department of Sensitive Crimes. His younger brother, Bjorn, leader of the Moderate Extremist Party suspects someone is leaking their ideas to the media as well as to their political rivals, the Extreme Moderates and wants Ulf to suss out the traitor. Ulf has mixed feelings since he doesn't support the party and he's not sure it would be ethical for him to ...more
Dimitris Passas
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first experience of Alexander McCall Smith's work and certainly not the last. ''The Strange Case of the Moderate Extremists'' is an amusing, witty story that is hard to strictly assort in just one genre, as it falls under a variety of different categories, such as crime fiction, comedy and literary fiction. Ulf Varg is one well-outlined main character who works as a police officer in the Department of Sensitive Crimes in Stockholm. The cases that he, along with his small team of coll ...more
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Filled with insights...I'm looking forward to this new book (possible series) from my man, Alexander McCall Smith. (What happened to the kittens?)
Reynolds Darke
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not much here.
Ken Fredette
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ulf Varg is a member of Malmö's Department of Sensitive Crimes who seems to be dependent on other peoples ideas as to how to basically solve the crimes that he has been given. He is ambushed by his brother into finding out who is responsible for giving ideas away to other governmental parties. Then he is given a cat case that he needs to solve. He is working with Anna on the cat case where he needs to find out who put a tom cat in with her show cat and the result was kittens that didn't sell. He ...more
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Alexander McCall-Smith is starting a new series and has given us a short story to whet our appetites. I didn't like the characters and will not be reading this series when it comes out.
Adam Dunn
Neither strange nor a particularly good case.
Laura Newsholme
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a little ashamed to confess that this is my first foray into the mind of Alexander McCall Smith and I found it to be a delightfully straightforward and amusing place to be. This tells the story of Ulf Varg, a detective in the department of sensitive crimes in Sweden as he investigates the rogue impregnation of a prize winning cat by a tom, whilst trying to discover who is releasing party secrets for his politician brother. The story is really simple in narrative structure and the characters ...more
Gláucia Renata
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Em maio Sandy inaugura uma nova série, The Department of Sensitive Crimes, liderado pelo detetive Ulf Varg e nos brinda com essa novela introdutória a fim de nos apresentar seu personagens.
Trata-se de um departamento da polícia sueca cuja tarefa é resolver os mais inusitados, complicados e, frequentemente, insignificantes crimes.
Aqui conheceremos Ulf Varg desde sua infância com seu irmão Bjorn. Ambos passaram suas melhores férias na magnífica propriedade de seu rico tio, que teriam sido perfeita
Ned Frederick
The Strange Case.... was my first nibble of the storytelling confections of Alexander McCall Smith. This is the debut novella for a new series featuring a Swedish detective. I had my doubts about the wisdom of mixing Nordic Noir with the gentle and relentlessly civil sleuthing McCall Smith has trademarked, but I decide to give the man who put the "pro" in prolific a chance. The truth is there is not much Nordic and even less noir to fret about. Ulf Varg seems way too staid and obsessively proper ...more
Mar 07, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
GoodReads lists this as coming before book 1 in this new series, but I read it after /The department of sensitive crimes/, which I think would probably be less frustrating for most readers. The characters and general story set-up get more introduction in the novel. Reading this first, the reader might have more trouble connecting to the characters.

As in the novel, nothing much happened here. The main character thought some thoughts at home about his dog, and thought some other thoughts at work a
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ulf is an extremely well-layered character, so much so that I find myself relating to him in such a short period of time. I admire the quickness of his detective mind, his openness about his desires and loneliness. Both mysteries are also equally compelling, which is proof that you don’t need a homicidal angle to write a good mystery. There is such nostalgia to Smith’s work. While reading this book I felt like I was taken back to the good old days of Hercule Poirot and Nancy Drew. Maybe I should ...more
Kathleen Gray
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short story/novella is really here to whet your appetite for a new series featuring Detective Ulf Varg. Set in Malmo, Sweden, it's full of the classic Alexander McCall Smith characters- quirky, intelligent, and not really criminal. He packs a lot into this slim story but it's a fun read, complete with issues with pets, an unrequited love interest, a brother with serious political differences, and so on. Thanks to net galley for the ARC. I enjoyed this and am looking forward to a full length ...more
Patricia Ann
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome is how I would describe Alexander McCall Smith’s books. He manages to captivate the nature of mankind in all of his books. This same insightfulness is seen in his new series based in Sweden. His ingenuity of combining a story with introspection and laughter is a gift that we can enjoy and allows us to take ourselves from our hectic lives. Can’t wait for the next book so I may enjoy the author’s wit once more.

Thanks to Netgalley and Vintage Books for ARC copy of this book to read and revi
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading this after finishing The Devil’s Aspect was like using mouthwash after a particularly bitter pill. The charm of an Alexander McCall Smith story was never more appreciated. Whether Botswana as in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency or Sweden as in this story,McCall creates an authentic world peopled with endearing characters. Even the villains are sympathetic. This extended short story was light on plot but long on charm which, frankly, was just what I was looking for. I hope there will be ...more
Elizabeth Grieve
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always a pleasure to read anything from this author. This brief introduction to yet another series - McCall Smith is astonishingly prolific - is charming and in his usual quirky gentle style. The main character, Ulf Varg, is a Swedish detective working in the Department of Sensitive Crimes (not sure this is a real thing!), and is asked to investigate a case in the world of cat breeders. This case, together with a secondary story about his brother who heads the 'Moderate Extremists' party, make u ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a fairly short book, I felt like I was getting to know the main characters fairly well. Ulf Varg is a police detective who works in the sensitive cases department. In this book he is working on two separate cases. It plays like a mystery, but with an unique twist that I won't go into details about to avoid spoilers. I'm looking forward to finding out what will happen next to Ulf in more books in this series.
Linda Earl
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it
McCall Smith’s latest short story

I was excited to read this new Vintage Short by Alexander McCall Smith. But, ultimately, I was disappointed. Yes, there’s humor in this short story, as there is in all of McCall Smith’s books. However, the plot line didn’t have enough to carry it, and I felt the story was too short to build the characters. I’ll be sticking to his longer, more intricate stories from now on.
Bob Poynton
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoughtful reflections in the modern world

Mccall Smith comes through again with a thoughtful, insightful story about where we are today, with right wing and left wing partisanship ready to destroy friendships and family peace if we allow it to...

Told, of course, with wit and compassion. Alexander mccall Smith is my favorite writer. I come away from his literature a better person, always.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
New series introduction

Fiction/mystery. Introduction to a new series! I did not immediately warm to the new characters like I usually have in previous series, but interested in the setting in Sweden. Eventually drawn in by the author’s writing style and humor. Will give the novel a try. Curious what Ulf will get up to.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A nice introduction

This short novella is a wonderful introduction to a new series by AMS. The crimes are soft, but for those involved the consequences are real and life altering. And these sensitive crimes need an investigator who is just as sensitive to the stakes at hand.
I am looking forward to the series and highly recommend it.
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more

Other books in the series

Detective Varg (3 books)
  • Varg in Love : A Valentine’s Day Mystery (Detective Varg, #0.5)
  • The Department of Sensitive Crimes (Detective Varg #1)
“Most theories and ideologies claimed to explain the world, or some aspect of it, but did not in any real sense influence the world. Underneath everything, beneath the layers of explanation that we created, beneath all our elaborate protocols, people still did exactly as they wanted to do. In other words, you did not change human nature by inventing a theory of human nature.” 0 likes
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