The G File HÅKAN NESSER
I read this book knowing it was the last in a series and the big question is will I be reading the back catalogue?
The book is big, running to just over 600 pages; the first half is set in 1987, the second in 2002. I couldn’t help thinking that Nesser had two stories left to tell and put them both into the same book, although the same mystery runs throughout.
It begins with a young lady acquiring the services of Maarten Verlangen, a washed out ex-police investigator turned private detective, to keep watch on her husband. The inevitable murder soon occurs and forms the spine of the story that runs through the book.
The murder is officially investigated by Police Officer Chief Inspector Van Veeteren. Van Veeteren has history with the main suspect, going back to when they were children. His investigation is marred by his feelings for the suspect and he proceeds on a personal campaign to prove him guilty. These feelings are based more on Van Veeterens guilt, with not having curtailed the suspect’s activities when they were in their youth, than any evidence for the current case.
The case remains unproved in 1987 but is revisited, by a now retired VanVeeteren, in 2002 when Verlangen disappears leaving a mysterious note.
I would be surprised if any crime fiction fan does not solve this murder pretty quickly, but you will have to plod your way through another 500 pages to confirm your thoughts.
The writing in this book reminds me of Colin Dexter, the backdrop and characters are beautifully described. All the way through I was reminded of the Morse series.
Some of the spoken word is a little old fashion and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was written in that way or was it as a result of a “direct translation”; or is it that actually Scandinavians use better English than the modern day British reader is used to.
I think I did suffer from not reading the other books first. This story feels like Nesser is retiring a much loved character, and many of his fans will probably enjoy it a lot more than I did.
So will I read any of the back catalogue. Maybe, but it will not be top of my reading list.