The first book in Alexander McCall Smith's new Detective Varg series . . .
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo introduced us to Scandi noir. Now, welcome to Alexander McCall Smith's world of Scandi blanc, where mysteries abound and there is still so much for a Swedish detective to learn.
Ulf Varg works in Malmö's Department of Sensitive Crimes. Like all Scandinavian detectives, he has his issues. In this case, these include his unresolved feelings for his colleague Anna, his impatience over the seeming incompetence of his irritating colleague Blomquist and his concerns for the health of his hearing-impaired dog Martin, the only dog in Sweden (and possibly all Scandinavia) who can lip-read.
Soon, Ulf and his colleagues find themselves investigating an attack on a market trader, the disappearance of a handsome man who may not exist and a group of students whose relationships leave a great deal to be desired . . .
'Wonderfully soothing and relaxing' Telegraph
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Prodigious does not come close to describing this now 70-year-old British-Zimbabwean writer and academic lawyer.
He’s written as many books as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy, it seems, and he keeps churning them out (5000 words a day every day when he’s at home, at least a 1000 if he’s away)
There’s a fair quantity of technical and professional non-fiction in his bibliography before 2000. Since then, it’s been fiction all the way, generally in multi-book series.
Most celebrated is the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, which has sold in excess of 20 million copies, and counting.
The crimes Mr McCall Smith writes about are never particularly heinous. His detectives are verbose but good natured. The plots are farce more than crime fiction.
Sensitive Crimes is the first instalment of a new series set in Sweden instead of Botswana or Scotland or wherever. I gave it a go for that reason. Sadly, it was exactly the same as everything else I’ve read, or tried to read, by this author.
This book bored me rigid. If you’re more kindly disposed to Mr McCall Smith’s schtick than I am, you’ll might like it. It will certainly sound familiar.