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Thursday, 7 November 2013

Hakan Nesser - Borkmanns Point

book review by showhost nov 2013
this is the first book by this author that I have read but as it is another nordic noir author (Swedish) I thought I'd give it a go as I carry on with my quest to find another as good as Steig Larsson.  Nesser is three time winner of the best Swedish Crime Novel Award, winner of european Crime fiction Star Award and shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger award.  It was published in 1994, and the first to be translated into English.
On the cover it states: an 'Inspector Van Veeteren mystery'. 
Inspector VV is quite a laid back character who is given to deep thinking and enjoys chess.  He is a warm, character who likes good wine and good company and toothpicks which I imagine must get on the nerves of his colleagues!  There is some subtle wit dialogue which stops it from being like the gruesome, usual serial killer type novel.  Inspector VV is on holiday when he is called in to assist the local authorities near where he is taking his leave.  Two men, with no apparent link, are brutally murdered with an axe, months apart, in the quiet, coastal town of Kaalbringen.  The chief of police there is winding down to his retirement and would like to get the case solved before he retires.
Inspector VV doesn't seem to be getting near to solving the case and calls in one of his men 'Munster', to assist along with the local police staff.  When a third body is discovered with the same death blows the community are becoming very nervous.  The police appeal for witnesses, the past of all three victims are detailed to try to find a link.  An extensive 35 page report is assembled but still no clue.  Have they reached Borkmanns point?  One of the local detectives, young female, thinks she may have found something in the report and leaves a message on Munsters phone to that effect arranging to meet him at 7.30pm.
She doesn't turn up, she is last seen jogging along the beach at 6.45, by Inpsector VV himself.
They need to get the breakthrough and soon but will their colleague be dead or alive they don't know.
It was slow to get going and is never a fast paced book like Simon Kernick's but the build up is deliberate and eventually consuming.  You learn to ignore the place names as it doesn't mean anything to us & doesn't detract from the story.  I quite enjoyed this crime book but def not Steig Larsson but then to me neither is Jo Nesbo.
Oh, yes, so what is Borkmanns Point, you may ask?  Well quote from book: its Bormanns rule, more a landmark for tricky cases.  In every investigation there comes a point beyond which we don't really need any more information.  When we reach that point, we already know enough to solve the case by means of nothing more than some decent thinking. (this apparently was the muse of a snr officer VV worked with when he was younger & who he admired & respected).

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