Sunday, March 18, 2007

Håkan Nesser

The surprises haven't yet started in this Swedish author's Borkmann's Point, but the deadpan wit has, as have the pleasingly laconic style and some pleasant invocations of camaraderie between two wise and intelligent police officers.

The brevity and the wit work together. Many a fictional veteran officer has rolled his eyes at the antics of a too-eager, too-punctilious young colleague. Naser lets an impersonal narrator speak: "It is true that Kropke had not had time to prepare any overhead projector transparencies before he addressed his colleagues in the conference room that evening, but everything was neatly set out in his notebook with detachable pages and dark-blue leather covers."

Concision is a watchword. Nesser shifts point of view frequently, telling just enough about a character to add flavor, breaking off before veering into mawkishness and excessive psychologizing.

And he has fun with the setting. The names are close to Dutch, but spelled not quite the Dutch way. The setting is coastal, though perhaps a coast more varied than that of the Netherlands. Readers familiar with Denmark or Sweden are free to weigh in on this matter.

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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Blogger Maxine Clarke said...

I enjoyed this book - I especially liked the dry humour and interplay between the cops in that regard. There are three (I think?) reviews on Eurocrime including mine -- the other two were not as keen on it. No clue on the geography, I'm afraid. Norm/Uriah might have a good idea, or Biblilophile (who lives in Iceland, thus having a head start).

March 18, 2007  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. Oddly enough, I found two of the Eurocrime reviews, but not yours. If you can dig it up, would you post a link here?

One of the other reviewers picked up on Nesser's games with various languages, with nouns as well as place names. I noticed the noun games after I made my post last night.

I also noticed that the officious Inspector Kropke has a name suspiciously similar to that of the bumbling Sgt. Krupke in West Side Story.

March 18, 2007  

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