A few years ago during a business trip to Germany, whilst rooting through offers in a bookshop, I came across a well presented Scandinavian author of crime novels, but I had neither come across him in France or in the UK. 5 or 6 years later I came across an audio book of his in my lending library ‘Homme sans Chien’ ‘Man without a dog’ in English (although the book has never been translated into English.
Håkan Nesser has two crime series, the inspector Van Veeteren series of 10 books, written between 1993 and 2003, all of which have been translated into English and five of which have been translated into French, the second more recent series, the inspector Barbarotti series of 5 books written between 2006 and 2010 have not so far been translated into English, and the first of the series ‘Homme sans Chien’ recently translated into French is the subject of this post
The audio book is a 2CD set of 14 hours, a commuters dream. The style is slow, Håkan Nesser first of all shows us the full scope of the dysfunctional family that is at the heart of the story. A family gathering brings together the overbearing father Mr Hermansson a rigid school teacher, retiring at his 65th birthday, who has decided both he and his wife will sell their house and retire to Spain without consulting his browbeaten wife who dreams of killing him. Their son Robert the Tosser who was filmed masturbating drunk on a reality TV show, and his favourite daughter Ebba Hermansson-Grund, as rigid as he, with her husband and two sons and the second daughter Christine with her husband and young son.
The tragic events of the book take place after the first two or three hours of the story. This book introduced a new detective, Barbarotti, a very human detective who feels strong empathy with people and does not want to give up the mystery which takes a certain time to unravel around him, he feels close to the solution towards the end of the book but is powerless against the events.
The book is well written and despite, or maybe I should say because of the slow pace of the book I remained interested throughout.
When in need of a crime thriller sometime in the future I will reach for Nesser
If you found this review useful remember to hit the like button
Homme Sans Chien: First published in Sweden by Piratforl in 2007
Translated into French by Esther Sermage and published by Seuil in 2013