Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is forced to unlock the secrets of a nearly perfect murder in this taut psychological thriller.
On a rainy April day, a body—or what is left of it—is found by a young girl. Wrapped in a blanket with no hands, feet, or head, it signals the work of a brutal, methodical killer. The victim, Leopold Verhaven, was a track star before he was convicted for killing two of his ex-lovers. He consistently proclaimed his innocence, however, and was killed on the day of his return to society. This latest murder is more than a little perplexing and Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is determined to discover the truth, even if it means taking the law into his own hands.
Nesser's latest contemporary police procedural, set in his Swedish homeland, is an excellent puzzler that will remind many of the Inspector Morse series. Nesser's sleuth, Detective Chief Inspector Van Veeteren, is on the eve of major surgery when a baffling murder case is dumped on his team; a mutilated corpse has been found in a ditch, and is eventually identified as that of Leopold Verhaven, a recently released double murderer. Verhaven's crimes were odd ones-vicious attacks on women decades apart-and his own killing raises the spectre that he was not guilty of them. Van Veeteren and his squad deftly delve through decades of faded eyewitness recollections before reaching a satisfying solution, albeit one that requires the inspector to cross a line to achieve justice. The sardonic Van Veeteren is an enteratining lead character, and this book should lead many to seek out earlier entries in the series.