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The Inspector and Silence: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery    by Hakan Nesser Amazon.com order for
Inspector and Silence
by Hakan Nesser
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2012 (2011)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Swedish Inspector Van Veeteren is back on the scene. Thinking he is getting too old and losing his edge for the detective work he has been doing for the Swedish police force, he is drawn into the case of a missing girl.

A religious sect has rented a summer camp for a time of purification for young girls. Rather brain washed, those responsible for running the camp seem to be under the thrall of their leader. However, no one is being observed until an anonymous phone call leads them to believe that a girl is missing from the camp.

Indeed, she is. And is found murdered, while the campers all swear no one had been missing. The police are stymied as another murdered girl has been found and the leader of the sect goes missing.

Van Veeteren agrees to help the investigation until it is time for him to leave for his vacation on the island of Crete. This trip came about to avoid traveling with his ex-wife and mother-in-law. He is a loner and works best when he can be alone in peace and quiet to ruminate on clues and the possible resolution of a crime. The phone tipster calls again but too late.

The beer in Sweden must be good, as a lot of it is drunk on the pages of The Inspector and Silence by Hakan Nesser. A tantalizing plot with a cogitating inspector. I do like the police characters - the author has given them lives away from the station and makes one realize that they are also homeowners with spouses and children and have the same problems as the rest of us.

Van Veeteren has some illuminating conversation with an old friend who gives him some insight into chess and the human condition.

Hakan Nesser has been duly awarded prestigious awards for his writing. This is the fifth in his Van Veeteren series. A very good read. I highly recommend it.

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