by Håkan Nesser
This is the first of the Inspector Van Veeteren mysteries, which have been translated from the Swedish.
Our story begins with Janek Mitter. He wakes one morning with the worst hangover of his life. Not only does he not remember the activities of the previous night, he also doesn’t recognize his surroundings or recall what his name is. When his head finally clears, he discovers a dead woman in his bathroom. He does recognize her; she is his wife.
With a lousy lawyer, Mitter is quickly convicted and committed to a mental institution. Problem solved, right? Well, Mitter’s own murder in the institution leads Inspect Van Veeteren to suspect more. He is convinced that the same person murdered both husband and wife. But why?
That is the question. The good inspector will prod and probe until he finds the answer, no matter how dark it is.
This is a great mystery novel. It’s really difficult to stop reading once you’ve started. And, it doesn’t read like your typical mystery series. The crime and its solution, not the sleuth, take center stage. Excellent.