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Woman with Birthmark (The Van Veeteren Series) [Paperback]

Håkan Nesser
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

5 Aug 2011 The Van Veeteren Series (Book 4)

A young woman shivers in the December cold as her mother’s body is laid to rest in a cemetery. The only thing that warms her is the thought of the revenge she will soon take . . .

Then a middle-aged man is killed at his home, shot twice in the chest and twice below the belt. He had recently received a series of bizarre phone calls where an old song is played down the line – evoking an eerie sense of both familiarity and unease. Before the police can find the culprit, a second man is killed in the same way.

Chief Inspector Van Veeteren and his team must dig far back into each man’s past – but with few clues at each crime scene, can they find the killer before anyone else dies?


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Woman with Birthmark (The Van Veeteren Series) + The Return (The Van Veeteren Series) + The Inspector and Silence (The Van Veeteren Series)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (5 Aug 2011)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0330492799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330492799
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Håkan Nesser was awarded the 1993 Swedish Crime Writers' Academy Prize for new authors for his novel The Mind's Eye (published in Sweden as The Wide-Mesh Net); he received the best novel award in 1994 for Borkmann's Point and in 1996 for Woman with Birthmark. In 1999 he was awarded the Crime Writers of Scandinavia's Glass Key Award for the best crime novel of the year for Carambole. His novels have been published to acclaim in nine countries. Nesser was born in Sweden, where he lives with his wife and two sons.


Product Description

Review

`Håkan Nesser is in the front rank of Swedish crime writers...A novel with superior plot and characters.' --Sunday Times

`Offering British readers a taste of the devious plots and moral ambiguity at the heart of Nesser's appeal...almost single-handedly destroyed Sweden's reputation for cheerful pop and colourful kitchenware.' --The Independent

`Nesser is one of the best of the Swedish crime writers...Has a literate writing style, a brooding atmosphere and a plot that never wallows in the purely salacious...A tense and subtle morality tale.' --Mail on Sunday

'Colin Dexter, the creator of Inspector Morse, has been showering encomiums on a younger crime writer...One of the most distinctive of non-English detectives.' --The Times

`The novel leaves no doubt that Nesser is a master of suspense.' --Sunday Times

Review

'A novel with superior lot and characters.'
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Rate Crime Novel 12 May 2009
By Simon Clarke TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the fourth of Hakan Nesser's Inspector Van Veeteren
mysteries to be translated into English,and the more I read
of Nesser the more he stands out as a crime novelist of the
highest order.Unlike other Scandinavian crime writers he
locates these mysteries not in a real place but in an invented
Northern European country,which seems to be a mixture of Holland,
Germany ,Sweden and Poland.
The plot of this very readable novel concerns a woman who is
motivated by the death of her mother to carry out retributive
murders.For a long time the engaging Van Veeteren and his team
can make no headway in solving the case,but the energy of the novel
is maintained by the humour (for which the translator must take
much credit)and interesting characterisation,as it progresses
to its moving conclusion.
A splendid novel by a writer deserving of a wide readership.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars dark and gloomy but great read 10 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback
The book opens with a woman standing in a cemetry, a lone mourner at her mother's funeral. A man is then shot twice in his chest and twice below the belt following a series of phone calls where nothing is said but music is played down the line. Shortly after a second man, seeminly unconnected is killed in the same way.

Inspector Van Veeteren is struggling with a cold but must find some sort of connection between the two men before someone else dies. This book switches between the viewpoint of the murderer and the ongoing investigation. It is a good read and another Scandinavian author I would recommend trying. This book is the fourth in the Van Veeteren series but can be read as a stand alone novel
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read 15 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved Stieg Larsson and his Millenium Trilogy and I cannot ever see any mystery/thrillers coming anywhere near as close for brilliant, compulsive reading but Hakan Nesser has done an extremely fine job with the great Chief Inspector Van Veeteren.

This is the fourth in the series and the pace never lets up at all. I love reading about the police investigation and how VV reaches his conclusions. I like Hakan Nesser's style of writing too.

I know this book has received mixed reviews, which I have only just read on finishing it, but I can honestly highly recommend it if you like a no nonsense police investigation with twists and turns. Please bear in mind that this is a work of fiction and all the nit picking reviews of place names etc, should be overlooked; Hakan Nesser has purposely done this, it is not an error. We live in a troubled world and a little escapism is essential.

Great stuff.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Served cold 29 July 2009
By Ann Fairweather TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Scandinavian crime is a genre you just love or not. Anyone picking up this latest Nesser might not think much of it (as the previous reviewer obviously), yet it is an excellent story, with a very interesting criminal at its heart. I guess one loves this genre precisely for the bleakness and inherent sadness that the environment provides, and because that makes for such an atmospheric background. But beyond that element, 'Woman with birthmark' is definitely a gripping, good, strong addition to the collection !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasurable gloom 24 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this story. I like the slow pace and the pervasive atmosphere of gloom and melancholy. The writing is spare, conveying only what is necessary as we follow Inspector van Veeteren in his quest to get to the bottom of the murder mystery. The big treat is in the glimpses into the lives of those with whom Van Veeteren comes into contact in the course of his investigation. Whilst other detective heroes might knock down doors, Van Veeteren and his colleagues knock politely on doors. Along with politeness, there is gravitas and sober observation. As readers we are enouraged to be observers too and maybe this is what I liked most. A recommended weekend read in front of the fire when it is raining (or even snowing) outside.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure it's up to the usual standard 14 July 2010
By emma who reads a lot TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I agreed with a couple of other reviewers here. I have read all the Nesser books translated into English so far, and this one had a strange, melancholy, flat feel. Nesser is excellent at describing how police investigations start and then stutter to a halt, but in this book, a murder investigation, I found myself repulsed by all the 'victims' and rooting for the murderer to get away. I don't know why this book had so little hold over me, but I really felt it failed to hit the spot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Woman with Birthmark 18 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Another good read that retained interest to the last page.
Van Veeteren has a good cast of characters around him and is not averse to receiving help from seemingly lesser mortals. That I like , but still find the toothpicks detract from the Inspectors credibility.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable 13 Jan 2012
By Pat
Format:Paperback
My wife's review:

This is my forth Nesser novel and I have to be honest and say that I have enjoyed them all. This novel was the first that I could actually guess where the storyline was going fairly early (before it was actually revealed) and was able to understand the motives behind the murders. Random men appear to be murdered without any rhyme or reason, however it eventually becomes clear why the murders are happening and the reason for them, and personally I could see why the murdered chose to kill these men.

Overall another good story, if (as always) a little short for me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best
Hakan Nesser has the best characterisation in the Van Veeteren detective. Fascinating and really well written - leads the Scandinavian troop of crime writers.
Published 1 month ago by Rdeakin
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak (may be some SPOILERS here)
A good concept, but rather weak in execution. The cops seem particularly dim. A clue to the connection between the murder victims is provided in an interview early on, but not... Read more
Published 3 months ago by T. Crane
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing
It's really good to "go back and fill in the gaps"; this is a really early book and I've read all the later ones, which become more and more tightly structured. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Victoria Martin
3.0 out of 5 stars GOOD READ
THIS WAS A GOOD BOOK WITH A GOOD PLOT. IT KEPT ME INTERESTED AND I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS BOOK AS WORTH READING.
Published 4 months ago by MaryGreenan
3.0 out of 5 stars A step along the way?
Mr Nesser is a consummate thriller writer. With the benefit of hindsight you can see this book as the work of an author moving from a strong contender to an artist. Read more
Published 11 months ago by JerryG
5.0 out of 5 stars More incident and human drama, with blood and guts just offstage
This is the 4th of Nesser's Inspector Van Veeteren series, originally published in 1996 but only translated into English by Laurie Thomson in 2009. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Dr R
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
He is a good thriller author as so many Scandinavian authors are nowadays. I have read many of his books, mostly on my iPad.
Published 14 months ago by A. John Chubb
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of his best
I am a Hakan fan. I very much like the VV series, but this is just the same as any other VV book. I was hoping for a fresh story, but same town, same houses they visit, same... Read more
Published 15 months ago by fh1981
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab read
I have really enjoyed finding new Scandanavian authors and really enjoy the oldie feel to the stories as in 80s and quite unusual that you have a Swede with a Dutch hero! Read more
Published 17 months ago by J. L. Sorensen
3.0 out of 5 stars confusing read
I found this confusing as I thought it was a Swedish detective. However, the names and places sounded like it was based more in Belgium or Holland. Read more
Published on 3 May 2012 by farmyard
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