Saturday, October 2, 2010

Can you read too many Swedish mysteries?

I would be inclined to say, no, you can't read too many Swedish mysteries.

Until this happens....

6:30 a.m. a gray kitty cat appears outside your apartment door and when you open the door he runs into your home.  You do not recognize the cat and do not know who owns him.

6:45 a.m. P. takes the cat upstairs and the neighbor's apartment door is open so he puts the cat into their apartment all the while hoping it is indeed their cat.

7:00 a.m. The cat is back at your door meowing loudly.  You don't want him running in the hallway or getting outside so you let him back in the apartment and begin playing with him.

8:00 a.m. You figure your neighbors must be awake by now and you carry the cat upstairs and knock on their open apartment door calling their names.  You try to put the cat in the apartment and close the door but the door won't close because the deadbolt is out from the inside.  No answer but you can see inside the apartment but don't want to enter because.....

They could be dead.  It could be a grisly scene only suitable for a Swedish detective to view.  You are now taking note of the time of events of the morning so you can report them to the police.  You go to call your landlord so he can call your neighbors and wake them up --- if they are in fact home and the cat is not the only survivor of some horrible incident.  And you are realizing that P's fingerprints are on pieces of their furniture because he helped them move.

But all ends well.  The neighbors are home and they come to retrieve their super cute kitty.  Your cat comes out of hiding.  You realize your imagination is a little overactive but you are not willing to give up murder-mysteries.  Especially really entertaining ones from Sweden where it's dark and the weather makes people maudlin.

This was another one picked up at Newberry. Van Veeteren is the lead detective in this series. I could see him grabbing a drink with Wallander. The characters in this story have some great chemistry and it's funny in places even while solving a terrible crime. He doesn't run over any hares but he does like a game of badminton.  While the country is never named the driving, weather and general atmosphere sure make it sound like Sweden and the author, Hakan Nesser, is Swedish and he has won the Best Swedish Crime Novel three times.

I'm trying to think of a comparison between the Millennium Trilogy/Larsson and the Wallander/Van Veeteren books.  If "Girl with Dragon Tattoo" is the summer blockbuster, the other series could be the art film.  Or if you discover New Order first you then move onto Joy Division.  I'm not sure - I'll keep working on that explanation.  One is the entry to the mysteries - the other ones keep you hooked.  Great book and the first in the series so I started in the right place this time.

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