Mind's Eye (Inspector Van Veeteren Series #1)

Mind's Eye (Inspector Van Veeteren Series #1)

3.7 43
by Håkan Nesser
     
 

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International Bestseller 

Håkan Nesser is firmly established as one of the world's bestselling crime novelists. And now the novel that introduced Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is available for the first time in English.

 

The swift conviction left Van Veeteren uneasy: Janek Mitter woke one morning with a brutal hangover and

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Overview

International Bestseller 

Håkan Nesser is firmly established as one of the world's bestselling crime novelists. And now the novel that introduced Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is available for the first time in English.

 

The swift conviction left Van Veeteren uneasy: Janek Mitter woke one morning with a brutal hangover and his wife dead in the bathtub. With only the flimsiest defense, he is found guilty and imprisoned in a mental institution. But when Mitter is murdered in his bed, Van Veeteren regrets not following his gut and launches an investigation into the two murders. As the chief inspector delves deeper, the twisted root of these violent murders will shock even him.




From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

World-weariness in a detective is well and good—but what if it ends up costing innocent victims their lives? That's the predicament in which Detective Chief Inspector Van Veeteren finds himself in this moodily affecting mystery, the first to appear in Nesser's native Sweden but the third to be published in the U.S. (after The Return and Borkmann's Point). Though the melancholy cop suspects accused killer Janek Mitter is innocent of drowning his new bride during an alcoholic blackout, Van Veeteren opts to focus on such more personally compelling matters as his own ruptured marriage and to let the judicial process run its course—until a second, truly shocking murder boots him and the book into high gear. The suspense intensifies as it becomes apparent that the initial killing was no garden-variety domestic drama but part of a bloody tapestry worthy of Greek tragedy. Even if you guess the book's final twist a bit early, this is a hauntingly powerful tale you won't soon forget. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

When Janek Mitter wakes up from a night of too much alcohol and sex, he must break into the locked bathroom, where he finds his wife dead in the bathtub. Suffering from amnesia as a result of his drinking, he falls into a lethargic state that lasts throughout his murder trial, conviction, and imprisonment in a mental hospital. Detective Chief Inspector Van Veeteren launches a new investigation when Mitter is murdered. Finally being published in the United States, this 1993 noir crime novel, set against the bleak, cold backdrop of Maardam, Sweden, launched Nesser's popular police procedurals (The Return; Borkmann's Point). For readers of Henning Mankell and those who remember Per Wahlöö and Mai Sjowald. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ2/1/08.]


—Jo Ann Vicarel
Kirkus Reviews
Sweden's brilliant Detective Chief Inspector Van Veeteren solves a knotty puzzle-a little too late-in this first installment in the Van Veeteren series (The Return, 2007, etc.); two other volumes in the series have already been published in the United States. At some point during a wild, alcohol-fueled, orgiastic night, schoolteacher Janek Mitter murdered his wife and colleague. Or so the police quickly decide, acting on the law-enforcement truism that when the corpse is a spouse, you can give odds forever that the surviving spouse is guilty. In due course, Mitter is arrested, indicted, convicted and bundled off to spend the rest of his natural life in a mental institution. But the outcome doesn't sit well with near-legendary homicide cop DCI Van Veeteren, who, aware that things are seldom what they seem, squirms at the ease with which Mitter has been warehoused. Events bear him out when Mitter is murdered. Convinced that the two homicides are inextricably connected, and annoyed at his own weak-kneed response to the prodding of his celebrated instincts, Van Veeteren launches a much deeper investigation. It carries him back to the dark corners of some extremely complex lives before finally confronting him with a motive for murder that manages to shock even him. Amiable Van Veeteren is a sly, cocksure sleuth.
The Sunday Times (London)
“In a class of its own. . . . This stunning novel by one of Sweden’s foremost crime writers might have been written as a script for Alfred Hitchcock.”
The Sunday Times (London)
BookPage
“In a class of its own. . . . This stunning novel by one of Sweden’s foremost crime writers might have been written as a script for Alfred Hitchcock.”
The Sunday Times (London)
The Oprah magazine O
Mind’s Eye satisfies on every level. It is an intelligently written, cleverly plotted tale, populated with believable characters. . . . Nesser was superb right out of the gate.”
BookPage
From the Publisher
“Snappish, sardonic, unsentimental, depressed, and quite possibly psychic, Van Veeteren is the most appealingly unlovable hero since TV’s crabby physician House.”
O, The Oprah Magazine

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307377586
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/10/2008
Series:
Inspector Van Veeteren Series , #1
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
66,496
File size:
0 MB

Read an Excerpt

He woke up and was unable to remember his name.

His pains were legion. Shafts of fire whirled around in his head and throat, his stomach and chest. He tried to swallow, but it remained an attempt. His tongue was glued to his palate. Burning, smoldering.

His eyes were throbbing. Threatening to grow out of their sockets.

It’s like being born, he thought. I’m not a person. Merely a mass of suffering.


The room was in darkness. He groped around with his free hand, the one that was not numb and tingling underneath him.

Yes, there was a bedside table. A telephone and a glass. A newspaper. An alarm clock.

He picked it up, but halfway it slipped through his fingers and fell onto the floor. He fumbled around, took hold of it again, and held it up, close to his face.

The hands were slightly luminous. He recognized them.

Twenty past eight. Presumably in the morning.

He still had no idea who he was.

...

He didn’t think this had happened before. He had certainly woken up and not known where he was. Or what day it was. But his name . . . had he ever forgotten his name?

John? Janos?

No, but something like that.

It was there, somewhere in the background, not only his name but everything. . . . Life and lifestyle and extenuating circumstances. Lying there waiting for him. Behind a thin membrane that would have to be pierced, something that had not woken up yet. But he was not really worried. He would know soon enough.

Perhaps it was not something to look forward to.

The pain behind his eyes suddenly got worse. Possibly the strain of thinking had caused it; but it was there, whatever. White hot and excruciating. A scream of flesh.

Nothing else mattered.

The kitchen was to the left and seemed familiar. He found the pills without difficulty; he was becoming increasingly sure that this was his home. No doubt everything would become clear at any moment.

He went back into the hall. Kicked against a bottle standing in the shadow cast by a bookcase. It rolled away over the parquet floor and ended up under the radiator. He shuffled to the bathroom. Pressed down the handle.

It was locked.

He leaned awkwardly forward. Put his hands on his knees to support himself, and checked the indicator on the door.

Red. As he’d thought. It was occupied.

He could feel the bile rising.

“Open . . .” he tried to shout, but could produce no more than a croak. He leaned his forehead against the cool wood of the door.

“Open up!” he tried again, and this time managed to produce the right sounds, almost. To stress the seriousness of his situation he belted several times with his clenched fists.

No response. Not a sound. Whoever was in there obviously had no intention of letting him in.

There was a sudden surge from his stomach. Or pos- sibly from even lower down . . . It was obviously a matter of seconds now. He staggered back along the hall. Into the kitchen.

This time it seemed more familiar than ever.

This is definitely my home, he thought as he vomited into the sink.

With the aid of a screwdriver he succeeded in unlocking the bathroom door. He had a distinct feeling that it was not the first time he’d done this.

“I’m sorry, but I really had to . . .”

He entered the room and just as he switched on the light, he became quite clear about who he was.

He could also identify the woman lying in the bathtub.

Her name was Eva Ringmar and she was his wife of three months.

Her body was strangely twisted. Her right arm hung over the edge at an unnatural angle. The well-manicured fingernails reached right down to the floor. Her dark hair was floating on the water. Her head was facedown, and as the tub was full to the brim, there could be no doubt that she was dead.

His own name was Mitter. Janek Mattias Mitter. A teacher of history and philosophy at the Bunge High School in Maardam.

Known informally as J.M.

After these insights he vomited again, this time into the lavatory. Whereupon he took two more tablets out of the bottle and telephoned the police.

From the Hardcover edition.

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