After my disappointment with Ernesto Mallo, it is heartening to be able to report a much more enjoyable experience with Hakan Nesser, suggested by the lovely people at Hampstead Books.
Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is a chess-playing, toothpick-chewing detective who hankers after leaving the police to work in a an antiquarian bookshop. Thus we encounter the familiar, but still effective sub-plot of the detective constantly trying to resign, and his chief constantly trying to thwart him.
The plot of the book is an intriguing one. A man awakens from a drunken slumber to discover his wife murdered in the bathroom. Unable to remember anything about what has happened, he is unsurprisingly the chief suspect and is promptly arrested.
Actually the denouement is signalled a long way out and so is not exactly surprising, but the book is very well written and is in my view the equal of either Nesbo or Mankell. My only complaint is that Pan have for some reason chosen to publish them in English in the wrong order, just as Viking did with Fred Vargas's Adamsberg books, which led to some very strange results. Why do publishers do this? It seems both illogical and unnecessary.