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The Return: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery Hardcover – 2007

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Hardcover, 2007
CDN$ 34.53 CDN$ 0.61 First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist

Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Pantheon (2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375421971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375421976
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,078,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
I recently read Hakan Nesser's Borkmann's Point and The Return and rate the former "I like it" and the latter "It's okay." Borkmann's Point is set in a fictional small town on the Swedish coast, where Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is sent to aide the local force investigating two particularly grisly axe murders. Like most C.I.'s in most police procedurals, Van Veeteren is a wily veteran; unlike many, he treats colleagues and subordinates with respect and warmth. Nesser develops the characters and the setting in effective ways that encouraged me to care for the. investigation and to root for certain outcomes. I especially enjoyed the interplay between Van Veeteren and the soon-to-retire local Chief of Police, Detective Chief Inspector Bausen. Nesser excels at portraying the patience and doggedness that crime investigation require. However, one vital aspect of the narrative detracts: when the investigation drags on, and on, and seems to have stalled (and the story demands resolution) the sage old C.I. divines a solution without us readers privy to the process. Nesser doesn't bother to show how Van Veeteren arrives at all the right answers. All the effort I had poured into interpreting the clues and character studies became trite -- Nesser waved a magic wand and Van Veeteren solved the case.

I then read The Return, and again appreciated Nesser's ability to create likeable characters. Van Veeteren has a somewhat lesser role in this novel, counterbalanced by a rich portrayal of the apparent antagonist, Leopold Verhaven, who may have murdered two women (he has served twelve years in prison for each alleged murder) and may in turn have been killed upon release from prison.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scan Thriller Fan on Aug. 5 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is typified by a complete absence of sense of place. I kept on turning to the inside back cover to check I was reading a book about Sweden. The names and place names are confusing and the one reference to the country's currency mentions guilders. The story was quite good but not strong enough to hold up against the lack of background. Hope the next one's better.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anna Penney on Jan. 18 2010
Format: Paperback
Only four of Nessan's books have been translated into English and now that I have read them all I want more. Inspector Van Veeteren grows on you, the characters in the books come alive with Nessan's writing. You won't be sorry if you pick up any of the books and you don't have to read them in order.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 26 reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Mankell Must Share the Spotlight May 26 2007
By A Discerning Reader - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Inspector Van Veeteren is the real gem in this budding series of police procedural novels written by Swede Hakan Nesser. Van Veeteren is the classic chief inspector--crotchety, brusque, prone to flashes of insight gained from mundane life, and a soft spot for his junior partner.

Whether he's driving around listening to Monteverdi or grousing about his upcoming surgery, the inspector manages to make the book funny and interesting. Nesser somehow manages to write just a little bit differently about life and happiness, and he injects reality into his characters that make them endearing. The plot is not all that gripping, but Mr. Nesser moves the storyline along nicely without getting bogged down in meaningless descriptions or red herrings.

At the end of the day, however, the characters make the book. Van Veeteren is the center, but his coworkers and associates are ones you'd like to get to know. Using his native Sweden makes Nesser's books even more interesting to the US audience that is just learning to love this author worthy to share the table with Henning Mankell.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A real policier Aug. 30 2007
By Blue in Washington - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the great things that has happened in mystery publishing over the past few years, is the flood of translated books from overseas which has given American (and other Anglophone) readers a new world of social and political perspectives through the genre. Hakan Nesser is one of these recently translated authors and a very good one, he is. "The Return," part of his Inspector Van Veeteren series, has the feel of an authentic police investigation throughout. The reader is taken through many routine interrogations in a murder investigation which only very gradually add up to a solution to the case. The case itself is bizaare and convoluted, involving the murders of three people, including a convicted murderer recently paroled from prison. While the central figure in the book is Chief Inspector Van Veeteren of the Maardam police, his junior colleagues get most of the story space here and their characters are well developed and credible. Oddly, though author Nesser is a Swede, his story is set in a small city in The Netherlands.

This is classic detective story that will be appreciated by any fan of this domain of fiction.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A double murder becomes triple Sept. 23 2007
By Cory D. Slipman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Hakan Nesser's "The Return" is another of the good Swedish police procedurals translated for consumption by the English speaking market. On the whole, the novel is a compelling read diminished only by Nesser's shallow development of his characters except for the victimized villain. The author has a penchant for commencing chapters with riveting plot action without identifying his characters. While this makes the action suspenseful, is can also cause confusion.

The storyline revolves around an inquest conducted by Chief Inspector Van Veeteren and his squad of detectives in the Maardam police department. A decapitated corpse also missing hands and feet was discovered wrapped in a carpet by a pre-schooler in a wooded area during a class outing. Immediately the investigation was two pronged. Exactly who was the victim and who was his murderer?

Adding depth to the storyline Van Veeteren was being operated on for a colon resection owing to cancer. He would conduct the investigation in part from his convalescent bed.

The detectives soon discover that the victim was one Leopold Verhaven. The notorious Verhaven, once a world class middle distance runner, had served two separate 12 year prison terms for the murders of two young women he was romantically involved with. As Van Veeteren looks back at the evidence from the previous killings he gets the feeling that Verhaven might hane been innocent.

Using unorthodox means, Van Veeteren and his minions take great pains to uncover the identity of Verhaven's murderer, speculating that this person also committed the crimes that Verhaven was implicated for.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I have discovered that all human evil comes from this; man's being unable to sit still in a room. Oct. 13 2007
By Andrea Bowhill - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It was an early morning in August; Leopold Verhaven walks free after serving twenty four years in prison for double murder. He feels the first rays of warmth from the sun on his face; his aim, to quietly return home. On a rainy day the following April a child on a field trip wanders off into the woods alone, frantically the adults and party of friends search for the young girl they find her safe but disturbingly sitting next to a mutilated corpse half wrapped in carpet.

A new case for Chief Inspector Van Veeteren or was it? His stubborn determination not to let a case go unsolved, even if it was from a hospital bed while recovering from surgery. The decomposing body is soon identified as a local man the murderer Leopold Verhaven or so they believe. Van Veeteren becomes rattled at this news, his quick to reopen the old cases for the killings of Verhaven two lovers. Could it be that Verhaven had been judged by character and not by evidence all those years ago, was it never on anyone lips he may have been innocent? Maybe Verhaven really did commit those crimes and now this lastest killing is someone's act of revenge at long last. The only way to solve this present case was to review old documentation with complicated history of what now could be a few near perfect murders.

This Swedish series is coming to us translated out of order and quiet some years later. The Return I certainly prefered much more to the pervious novel, one small drawback for me, I felt some other police characters part of Inspector Van Veeteren team needed to be a bit more developed, you get the feeling you touch base with them but something is being held back, still we may learn more as the translation series goes on.

One character that really shines through in this book is Van Veeteren, after his serious surgical procedure his in a lighter philosophical mood with more humor and irony surfacing; and with that wonderful no nonsense attitude that I just happen to love, he couldn't go wrong. He also faces the prospect in this one of taking the law into his own hands, as he realizes the flaws in the justice system. Van Veeteren overstepping certain boundaries is very intriguing to read.

Another reason I found The Return more enjoyable would be the jump back and forth in time looking at different angles into a close-knit community with changes taking place and testimony from witnesses being broken down. We as the readers are let lose for a while, staying one step ahead of the police, the author gives to us a little extra piece of information on a certain date and time line, I found that very clever and interesting.

Håkan Nesser the Author worked as a teacher in Uppsala before turning his hand to writing Novels. In Sweden, his detective stories around Inspector Van Veeteren has received numerous honors. After reading this Novel I'm looking forward to future books in translation from this Author.

Wonderful psychological thriller. Recommended.

Andrea Bowhill
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Nesser delivers again May 12 2007
By Mark Pastin - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This one is up with the best from any country but retains its Scandanavian

flavor. While Henning Mankell is perhaps the more famous author in this

country, Nesser deserves a place among the top international mystery writers.

A very good story with developed characters that make you care.

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