By Håkan Nesser
Pantheon, $24.95, 304 pages

Chief Inspector Van Veeteren has had just about enough of police work. Tired of the murders, the ugliness and the evil, he has been considering retiring for some time. When the opportunity arises to act as a consultant in another town, he jumps at the chance. Taking his time on his part-holiday, part-consultant gig, Van Veeteren finds himself being sucked into the case – a girl missing from a summer camp belonging to a strange religious sect. The more he digs, the murkier things become, and Van Veeteren must put the pieces together before another girl disappears.

The Inspector and Silence is the fifth installment of the Van Veeteren series by author Håkan Nesser. The mystery in the novel is fascinating, and the plot has a lot of nice twists and turns. It is also enjoyable to see how the inspector’s thought process works and how he puts information together throughout the case. The inspector himself is an enjoyable character, and some of his comments and thoughts are laugh-out-loud funny. It’s best to read this series in order. Also, there are some issues with awkward transitions and clunky writing at times – it’s unclear if that is due to the writing itself or the translation.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern