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Thursday, 10 April 2014

‘The Weeping Girl’ by Hakan Nesser

Published by Pan,
26 September 2013.
ISBN: 978-1-4472-1658-2

The Weeping Girl features one of Van Veeteren’s former colleagues, Inspector Eva Moreno. She is on her way, unwillingly because she is supposed to be on holiday with her boyfriend, to the town of Lejnice to interview the minor criminal Franz Lampe-Leerman. During the train journey she becomes aware that a young girl in the same compartment is weeping. That girl is Mikaela Maager and she has just learned from her mother that her father Arnold Maager fifteen years before had been convicted of murdering a girl, Winnie Maas, who was a pupil at the school where Arnold was a teacher. Arnold and Winnie had been having an affair and he had confessed to the murder. Now he is confined to a mental hospital and Mikaela, who has not seen her father since she was three, is on her way to visit him. But after that meeting she disappears. Shortly afterwards so does Arnold. It becomes necessary to delve into the circumstances around Winnie’s death. Eva is drawn into the investigation while at the same time Lampe-Leerman has been making accusations about an unnamed police colleague, allegations of paedophilia which could be substantiated - for a price.

It is strange that Nesser’s novels are only now being published in English. With their intricate yet believable plotlines and convincing characterisation they are a substantial contribution to Scandinavian crime fiction. This novel ishighly recommended.
Reviewer: Radmila May
Other novels by Hakan Nesser: Borkman’s Point, The Return, The Mind’s Eye, Woman with a Birthmark, The Inspector and Silence, The Unlucky Lottery, Hour of the Wolf.

Hakan Nesser  was born February 21, 1950 in Kumla Sweden. He attended Uppsala University. He is a celebrated award-winning Swedish crime writer whose novels have only recently been translated into English. His series detective is Van Veeteren, although by the time of the novels reviewed below he has retired and is now running an antiquarian bookshop. He is often called upon for informal advice by his former colleagues who value his insight and ability to make connections that others miss. The novels are set in a fictitious country, never named but an amalgam of  Holland, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and perhaps others. The police headquarters is in the town of Maardam.

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