cover image The Inspector and Silence: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery

The Inspector and Silence: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery

H%C3%A5kan Nesser, trans. from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson. Pantheon, $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-375-42523-3

Nesser's fine fourth Insp. Van Veeteren mystery (after 2009's Woman with a Birthmark) finds the crime-weary detective teetering on the brink of retirement while sweltering through a brutal case of rape and murder at a camp run by a religious group, the Pure Life (aka the "sex sect"), for adolescent girls. Van Veeteren immediately suspects the sinister cult leader, Oscar Yellinek, of killing first one, then another of his eerily silent charges, but he himself faces the real mystery of this disturbing parable of good and evil: how long will Van Veeteren, "spoiled over the years" by human inhumanity, be able to stand the desperately delicate balance of his chosen work, where he must constantly enter the malicious "heart of darkness"? As Van Veeteren slowly reconstructs these crimes, he also wrestles with the dilemma central to Nesser's police procedurals: the necessity of protecting evildoers until justice can be done. (June)