Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Mind's Eye by Håkan Nesser

Title: The Mind's Eye
Author: Håkan Nesser
Translated from the Swedish: Laurie Thompson
ISBN: 9780330492782, Pan Macmillan, 2009
Genre: Police Procedural, #1 Inspector Van Veeteren mystery
Rating: B
Source: Purchased from the Book Depository

First Line: He woke up and was unable to remember his name.

Nineteen times out of twenty, Inspector Van Veeteren knows when he's looking the perpetrator of a crime in the eye. There are countless tiny "tells" that alert him to a person's innocence or his guilt. When teacher Janek Mitter is sent to prison for the murder of his wife, Eva Ringmar, it turns out that this case was number twenty. When Mitter's memory begins to return, he is murdered before he can reveal the identity of the actual killer. Van Veeteren has to set the record straight, clear Mitter's name, and send the right person to prison.

Van Veeteren is a character I could get my teeth into and feel some empathy for, since endless overcast weather and darkness tend to depress both of us. Nesser's description brought him to life:

He sat with his bulky body crouched over the cassette recorder, looking like a threatening and malicious trough of low pressure. His face was criss-crossed by small blue veins, many of them burst, and his expression was reminiscent of a petrified bloodhound. The only thing that moved was the toothpick, which wandered slowly from one side of his mouth to the other. He could talk without moving his lips, read without moving his eyes, yawn without opening his mouth. He was much more of a mummy than a person made up of flesh and blood.

The plot moves quickly as he tries to find the killer. Although I did find the identity of the murderer to be a bit of a letdown and the ending a little rushed, the bare bones of an excellent mystery series were there to be seen, and I look forward to reading more of Inspector Van Veeteren's adventures.


  1. Another Scandinavian author to add to my list. I guess they've always been around, but I seem to be much more aware these days. Thanks for sharing, Cathy!

  2. It seems like a lot of great mysteries are coming out of Scandinavia these days. This sounds like a promising series.

  3. I'm intrigued. The description of the main character is wonderful.

  4. Kay-- I think publishers in the English-speaking world are much better about getting them into our hands, thanks to writers like Mankell and Fossum.

    Kathy-- It does. I know I'll be reading another in the series.

    Barbara-- I loved that description, too.


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