The Mind's Eye by Hakan Nesser

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The Mind's Eye by Hakan Nesser

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An Inspector Van Veeteren mystery which delivers an ingenious plot, good characters and an excellent translation from the original Swedish. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 277 Date: July 2008
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 978-0333989869

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Janek Mitter stumbled into the bathroom one morning after a night of heavy drinking. He could barely remember his own name and when he found Eva, his beautiful wife of only a few months, dead in the bath he couldn't remember what had happened. All he could say to the police was that he didn't think that he'd killed her, but he had no idea of who else might have done so and he had to accept that he might well have done it himself. Inspector Van Veeteren is normally certain about whether or not someone is the murderer but he can't reach that point in this case and besides, he has a certain liking for Mitter and his wit.

It seems an open and shut case, for who else could have killed Eva? Van Veeteren might have his doubts but it's not until there's another death that he has free reign to investigate both cases.

I first met Van Veeteren in The Return and The Mind's Eye continues the promise and skill shown in that book. The author is Swedish, but the novels are set in an un-named North European country. It could be Germany, Denmark or Sweden, but probably resembles the Netherlands most of all. In The Return I lamented the lack of a more specific location but this didn't trouble me quite so much in this book. Increased familiarity has provided its own landscape.

Some police procedurals give you the feeling that the killer is going to be impossible to unmask with any degree of certainty and that you're possibly going to be left with an unsatisfactory ending, but that's not the case here. I really couldn't see how this would work out, but Nesser delivers a satisfying solution to the mystery and one which I simply didn't see coming.

As with The Return the translation from the original Swedish is by Laurie Thompson, translator of many of Henning Mankell's novels. Despite the style being very different Thompson delivers a very readable book which it's easy to forget is a translation.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this type of book appeals to you then we think that you might also enjoy Nemesis by Jo Nesbo, but you should be warned that unlike the Van Veeteren books this is part of a series which is best read chronologically.

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