I chanced upon the Inspector O series after hearing about the first book in the series on BBC Radio 4, I read it and loved it and have rapidly been reading my way though the series. This one, 'The Man with the Baltic Stare', is fantastic. Although it is not a classic detective story. There is a murder and a detective and police work the majority of the book is focused on the geo-politics of the Korean peninsular.
But it is in no way dull. At times claustrophobic (a characteristic of all the Books in the series) it is also filled with a deep melancholia of lives lived, possibly without meaning.
The book gives a filling of North Korea and especially Pyongyang, but a changing one. If you have read earlier books in the series then in this one we reencounter, old-friends, and 'old-friends', although it is probably best to read these novels in order, you will nevertheless enjoy reading this even as your first read in the Inspector O series.
I highly recommend it, a fascinating read one that both fills its function as griping detective story but reaches higher levels of literature. It makes you feel and think, and continue to think after you have finished reading it.
It remained me of American nora fiction.
But one that has captured what I think must be something of the feel of the Stalinist state and those administrative workers who live and work in and for it.