Woman With Birthmark: A Book Review

Woman With Birthmark by Hakan Nesser, translated by Laurie Thompson and published by Pantheon Books is the fourth in the Inspector Van Veeteren series. It starts with a woman’s funeral. It is cold, raining and the deceased has one mourner.

This is one of the Inspector Van Veeteren stories that takes place in the mythical town of Maardam. It is somewhat of an old style story. A man is shot twice in the chest and twice below the belt. There aren’t many clues and Van Veeteren’s team plods along and sifts through minutia trying to find something to work on.

After the murder of a second man, they find someone called several times playing a song over the telephone. The song doesn’t yield any significant clues. When one of Van Veeteren’s team finds a connection between the two men, they realize the killer is on some sort of mission. Van Veeteren’s team slogs through the details as they gradually uncover bits of information that lead them to the conclusion.

This is somewhat of an old style mystery. This award-winning book was written in 1996. Laurie Thompson translated this edition in 2009. The translation is somewhat clunky in places, but still reads well.

This is an engaging book. The story is engaging and carries one along. It is well worth reading. I recommend it. The title is logical, but it took a while to get it. It’s like a joke that may take a while to sink in.

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