Customer Reviews


47 Reviews
5 star:
 (12)
4 star:
 (14)
3 star:
 (11)
2 star:
 (8)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing debut
This was Hakan Nesser's debut novel, which came out in Sweden in the early 1990s. We are just beginning to get his wonderful Inspector Van Veeteren books translated into English, but reading this very first in the series I was amazed at how well drawn the characters are, especially the dour Inspector; "He's big, his face is purple and he swears," as one of his...
Published on 25 Oct 2009 by emma who reads a lot

versus
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars First Van Veeteren Mystery
This is the first in Hakan Nesser's Van Veeteren series, although numbers two and three, Borkmann's Point and The Return, were published before it in the UK.

The story opens as Janek Mitter wakes with a massive hangover and takes some considerable time to come to his senses, remember who he is, work out that he is in his own home, force his way into the locked...
Published on 21 Jun 2009 by Mick Read


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing debut, 25 Oct 2009
By 
emma who reads a lot (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Mind's Eye (The Van Veeteren Series) (Paperback)
This was Hakan Nesser's debut novel, which came out in Sweden in the early 1990s. We are just beginning to get his wonderful Inspector Van Veeteren books translated into English, but reading this very first in the series I was amazed at how well drawn the characters are, especially the dour Inspector; "He's big, his face is purple and he swears," as one of his interviewees puts it.

The plot is rather simple in some ways, but unfolds with satisfying pace. Highly influenced by other Swedish writers, especially Sjowall and Wahloo, there is a large cast of policemen and lots of stuff about contemporary Swedish society. The story is also told in compact little scenes like S&W, which I love as little time is wasted on 'scene-setting'.

In fact my only complaint is that the publishers did that annoying thing of putting the first chapter of the next book at the end, which means that you think you have longer to go in the novel than you realise! Argh.

Very, very enjoyable, especially when you know there are several more to come in the series!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS - Van Veeteren - current FIRST novel in English, 28 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Mind's Eye (The Van Veeteren Series) (Paperback)
Boring title of the review - apologies.
But how I wish I had been pointed to this English translation of HN's Van Veeteren series, first. As I write there are 5 and a 6th due to emerge October 2011.
Firstly - HN's choice to focus on the lead Chief Inspector's character - will not be to everyone's liking. But this is very a la Morse. If you like Colin Dexter's books and the TV series - I promise you you will devour these like me, with almost indecent haste.
Secondly - again I agree with most - these are not complicated plots. But they are fascinating reads. And the current 5 available ARE very different.
Specifically from the narrative's perspective. Some (like "Woman with Birthmark") are very Colombo-esque - as in you know, as the reader, what is going on. As mini-scenes from the killers perspective are interspersed with the very mixed-ability crime team's attempts to justly intervene. Others like "Borkmanns Point", you have to plod alongside Van Veeteren's gang and try and guess what's going on.
As a consequence the current crop of 5 are very different - and if obsessive like me (eg once you find an author you like you just MUST have the lot) that helps a lot!
Finally - the humour in these novels is darker and funnier than the rest (as in Mankell, Larsson, Nesbo et al). And in my next review I'll pick out a couple of my favourite Smith-and-Jones-like exchanges. The coldness and bitterness in these books is warmed by the cast around the Chief Inspector - from the pot-plant addict Chief of police to the pipe-smoking, private Inspector Reinhart
When thinking which Skandi crime writer to buy into next - everyone is different.
But as far as I am concerned - a Colombo-loving, Morse-loving, Nesbo-loving chap in his 40s.
As Brucie would say...
he's my favourite.
ps I have only rates this 4* because other ones in the English translated series are actually better!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars First Van Veeteren Mystery, 21 Jun 2009
This review is from: The Mind's Eye (The Van Veeteren Series) (Paperback)
This is the first in Hakan Nesser's Van Veeteren series, although numbers two and three, Borkmann's Point and The Return, were published before it in the UK.

The story opens as Janek Mitter wakes with a massive hangover and takes some considerable time to come to his senses, remember who he is, work out that he is in his own home, force his way into the locked bathroom and discover the drowned body of Eva Ringmar, his wife of three months. Unable to remember much of the events leading up to the murder and offer any defence, he is convicted of her murder and sent to a psychiatric institution.

Detective Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is the local police chief and, whilst he could find no reason in his interrogation of Mitter for him not to be charged, he is nonetheless unconvinced by the outcome and sets about further investigation, and so the case begins.

The writing style is recognisably Scandinavian, crisply narrated and with a classically tragic basis. The dialogue is believable, as is the story overall, and it is an easy read. However, I found Van Veeteren's supremely enigmatic and cerebral character difficult to establish any rapport with and his intuitive thought processes often impenetrably shrouded in obscure language. Meanwhile, his sizeable team of investigating officers offered plenty of scope to build a platform for future stories but were left more as a set of names rather than developing characters and, as the story concluded, I felt somewhat short-changed and unfulfilled.

That said, Van Veeteren's brooding mystery and Nesser's writing has the potential to establish their joint credentials in the varied genre of European detectives and I look forward to reading Borkmann's Point.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is not just good, it's very very good, 2 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I stumbled upon the name Hakan Nesser by pure chance and, boy, am I glad I did. It took me a while to find out the first book in the series, as they were translated into English out of order. After some persistence I discovered this was indeed the introduction of Van Veeteren so downloaded it immediately to my kindle.

This is absolutely my kind of book. I loved the fast pace and the flawed but wonderful Van Veeteren, my new hero. One can almost sense his world weariness and his desire for a peaceful existence, yet his quest for justice takes over.

I won't go into the plot details as other reviewers have covered this, save to say I literally couldn't put this book down until I had finished it.

I believe the next in the series is Borkmann's Point and am hoping it's an unputdownable as The Mind's Eye.

Thoroughly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of the better Nordic crime fictions, 24 July 2009
By 
Feanor (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Mind's Eye (The Van Veeteren Series) (Paperback)
In Håkan Nesser's acerbic and sardonic detective Van Veeteren, we have a wonderful winner. As police procedurals go, The Mind's Eye is representative of the genre; what raises this above the usual is the meta-text provided by the author - knowing asides and darkly humorous commentary that enliven the pages. Often, the chapters start with pronouns, requiring some amount of concentration from the reader to decide exactly who is being talked about; unlike reviewers elsewhere who found this confusing, I thought it refreshing, serving to keep the story going as well as keeping me alert. Van Veeteren is the classic noir footpad with a troubled marriage and a jailbird son, and has the usual likes (jazz and classical music) one expects from such a detective. He investigates the case of a husband wakes up one day to find his memory gone and his beautiful wife slaughtered. A sparkling set piece in a court enumerates the facts of the case. The husband is consigned to a mental institution where his memory returns, and for no reason I can discern, he sends a message to the killer. Shortly thereafter he is killed as well. The police procedural then takes over and the investigation proceeds meticulously. It is fairly obvious who the murderer is, even if it's not clear for a while what triggered the murderous spree. This is one of the better crime novels I've read, and I heartily recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic debut, 13 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have read the Van Veeteren books in the order they were published in English, so I got to this one third (it was actually the first written). It's a wonderful book and would ideally serve as the perfect introduction to the character and of course series for those who haven't yet taken the plunge. For the first half of the novel, Van Veeteren is hovering around in the background, before the big twists sees him being thrust very much to the fore, where his various quirks start revealing themselves (he gets far quirkier as the series develops). This is just a wonderful crime novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great read from Nesser, 8 Jan 2012
By 
This review is from: The Mind's Eye (The Van Veeteren Series) (Paperback)
My wife's review:

I have just finished this novel and have come on here to write a review of what I believed was Nesser's third novel only to see other reviews that say it is his first! Having read Borkmann's Point and then The Return, before reading The Mind's Eye, made absolutely no different to the story, I have enjoyed all three regardless of the order they were written/read in.

This novel is about Janek Mitter who wakes up after a night on the booze to find that his wife, Eva, has been murdered and he has no knowledge of the previous evenings events. Due to his lack of memory he cannot 100% be sure that he didn't actually kill her and is therefore convicted of her murder. Eventually little glimmer's of that evening start to surface but is it too late for Janek to tell his story or will it be left to Detective Inspector Van Veeteren get to the bottom of it?

I have lost the odd evening to booze myself (in my younger days) and so found this storyline quite believable and would definitely recommend this book. My only slight criticism would be that, if anything, it is a little short as is the norm for Nesser novels.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crime country, 10 Dec 2010
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Mind's Eye (The Van Veeteren Series) (Paperback)
The original title of this mercurial crime novel was The Wide-Mesh Net, which is only slightly snappier in Nesser`s native Swedish. Neither that nor The Mind`s Eye (no idea why the translator chose that) is very much to the point, but having read this pretty good yarn, I`m damned if I can think of a better one.
The author`s trump card is his volatile, irreverent, caustic creation, Chief Inspector Van Veeteren. He is delightfully insulting to virtually one and all, including his superiors. He`s a tough, driven man, though he`d really rather be lying on a beach somewhere with a drink at hand and some Bach on the radio - echoes of Morse, though any other resemblance ends there.
Other reviewers have outlined the plot, so I won`t. Besides, plots are surely incidental in the end. Is this a well-written, engrossing crime thriller? With minor reservations, yes. It begins well, proceeds through a few crisp trial scenes, then soon after that the hunt is on for the killer. Two-thirds in, I guessed who that might be, and was proved right. (Van Veeteren would no doubt throw a sarcastic backhanded compliment my way were I to boast of such prowess.)
The whole thing is set in the fictional city of Maardam, in no particular country - most of the place names, and the characters` names too, sound Dutch. This is quite a wheeze to bring off, and Nesser does it with aplomb. You don`t much notice such oddities after a while. Besides, many of the names could almost be Swedish.
There are of course as many Swedish crime writers now as there are stars in the sky, so they need to stand out from the crowd to be noticed. All I can say is I shall be looking for the second book in the Van Veeteren series - this was Nesser`s debut novel - with eagerness.
Quibbles? We are asked once too often to take on trust the Chief Inspector`s hunches; there are so many strange names bandied about that the foreign reader can at times lose track of who`s who; and the final summing up (before a brief, necessary tying up of a vital early plot-point that I`d hoped Nesser hadn`t forgotten about) is a little hurried. But then, few crime writers have solved the problem of how not to make the Summing Up a lengthy treatise on what we`ve spent two or three hundred pages reading about.
One more thing, as Columbo would say. There is much humour here, often dry-as-dust, sometimes almost farcical as in this exchange:

`...Any snags`
`Yes,` said Munster. `At least one. An unusual name.`
`What do you mean?`
`If you have an unusual name, letters get through to you no matter what. Dalmatinenwinckel, or something like that...`
`What the hell are you on about?`
`Dalmatinenwinckel. I once had a girlfriend called that. It was enough to write her name and the town, a street address wasn`t necessary.`
`A good job you didn`t marry her,` said Van Veeteren.

There`s more where that came from, and this sometimes quirky novel is all the better for it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Promising start..., 15 Sep 2012
By 
A. MacKlin "Me" (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Mind's Eye (The Van Veeteren Series) (Paperback)
Inspector Van Veeteren seems to be made in the shape of many other detectives in popular fiction, and at first glance seems to have all the right qualities to be popular ...dour, depressed, mouthy, brooding, dark, and of course with a totally destroyed private life. Fortunately for the reader he also shares the positive qualities of this role model ...sharp-minded, quick-witted, intuitive, and doesn't miss a trick.
Like many people out there I have many many hundreds of books over the years, and a fair few of them thrillers. The problem I have with Van Veeteren, in this opening saga of his life, is that I didn't see anything to set him apart from any other character ...the story could have been about Inspector Pekkala, Harry Hole, or even Harry Bosch. Cross genders and it could have been about Martinson or any other hard-nosed copper.
In spite of what I have said above I enjoyed the book. Sure, it annoyed me when he never shared anything with his side-kick, because I can't stand arrogance, and he is perhaps the most arrogant character that I have ever met, but the sharpness of his mind and the author's ability to drip-feed details in the right dose makes up for that. The storyline was complex enough to keep you guessing, but delivered in a style that masked the complexity quite nicely.
Speaking of the author, praise must be given for his ability to control all elements of the plot in a very pleasing way. Like all "Scandi Books" - as they seem now to be categorised as - there is a plethora of foreign character names, place names, and national hang-ups about things like accents, but they do not get in the way of the storyline, or even tamper with the plot. Nesser is a good author, and worthy of at least a second outing, so his series of books featuring Van Veeteren will no doubt go on my Christmas shopping list. The only concern I have for Van Veeteren is that his arrogance and disdain for others will get in the way of me enjoying his stories, and that would be a shame, because Nesser delivers good stories. You should try this book to see what you think.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and enjoyable, 23 Aug 2012
By 
M. V. Clarke (Durham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This novel features Nesser's Chief Inspector Van Veeteren, an eccentric and sometimes brilliant policeman, investigating the deaths of two school teachers. The plot itself is not overly complicated, but Van Veeteren's leaps of logic, critical insights, humour and relationships with colleagues make it a very enjoyable read. Much of the story is not especially dramatic, but it is in Van Veeteren's engagement, or otherwise, with his work that the real interest comes. His approach, reactions and musings are the core of the novel, and keep the reader on their toes throughout.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Mind's Eye (The Van Veeteren Series)
The Mind's Eye (The Van Veeteren Series) by Håkan Nesser (Paperback - 1 Mar 2012)
£5.59
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews