Murder, My Swede

If you’ve ever headed down to IKEA for lunch, you’ve probably scarfed down some knackerbrod and a steaming plate of meatballs, but we doubt you’ve encountered anything with the aftertaste of Swedish novelist Håkan Nesser, who’ll read from his bloodcurdling crime thrillers Borkmann’s Point and The Return.

The series centers on police inspector Van Veeteren, a dour, northern European gumshoe given to cryptic pronouncements and acrobatic deductions. Nesser situates his protagonist in a cold, gray literary landscape as chilly as a fjord in January. For example, this description of the victim of an ax murder: “His head was still attached, but it looked as if it had very nearly been severed, as well . . . Not only blood had flowed out of the opening in his neck, but also some undigested bits of food, by the look of it . . . and something fleshy that was still attached somewhere. Van Veeteren assumed it must be his tongue.”

Another plate of gravlax, anyone?

Fri., April 25, 12:30 p.m., 2008
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Peter Breslin