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Mind's Eye: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery (Inspector Van Veeteren Mysteries) Hardcover – June 10, 2008

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Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Van Veeteren Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; English Language edition (June 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375425039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375425035
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #693,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When foreign crime novelists break through in the U.S., it’s often not with the first book in a series; then, riding on success, the earlier volumes are issued. So it was with Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander series, and so it is now with Wallander’s fellow Swede Hakan Nesser. This third Inspector Van Veeteren novel to appear here is actually the first in the series. The similarities, apparent in Nesser’s Borkmann’s Point (2006), between Van Veeteren’s intuitive sleuthing style and that of Commissaire Adamsberg in Fred Vargas’ series, are even more evident here, as the inspector attempts to rely on his ability to sense guilt and innocence in a suspect. This time, though, Van Veeteren’s sense that Janek Mitter didn’t kill his wife doesn’t keep the man out of prison; the inspector only knows he was right when Mitter is murdered on the day he is released. Effectively combining police procedural and psychological thriller, Nesser lets us into the heads of both his hero and the people he investigates. Backtracking in a series is sometimes disconcerting, as it can be here, but it’s easy to see how this book launched Nesser’s career. --Bill Ott


Praise for Borkmann’s Point

“Nesser had a penetrating eye for the skull beneath the skin.”
The New York Times

“Keeps you on the edge of your seat… You don’t want it to end.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Inspector Van Veeteren seems destined for a place amongst the great European detectives.”
Colin Dexter, author of the Inspector Morse mysteries

Praise for The Return

“A blast… His plots are addictive, his writing admirably economical, his characters complex and engaging.”
–Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Another solid example of why Swedes have become the talk of crime fiction.”

“Every bit as enjoyably creepy as his previous offering… For anyone looking for something new in a mystery or detective series.”
Entertainment World

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Artemis on June 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the first in the Inspector Van Veeteren mystery series. It is an intricately plotted mystery with several murder victims, but it is impossible to say more without giving away a major plot development. So if you buy this book, don't read the description given on the inside cover flap.

Let me say only this. Chief Inspector Van Veeteren (or "VV" as his colleagues call him) is a character and quite the opposite of Mankell's introverted Kurt Wallender. Make no mistake, however, VV is a dedicated and brilliant chief inspector who has solved 20 of 21 cases. But his outspoken and blunt behavior around his colleagues and even around his boss, the chief of police, often had me laughing out loud. There is humor in this book, as when a suspect calls the police department with some information but can't remember the name of the Inspector (Van Veeteren) who questioned him. "You know," he says to the on-duty officer, "the unpleasant one, the really, really unpleasant one"--upon which the officer immediately puts him through to VV!

It is wonderful to watch Chief Inspector Van Veeteren connect all the dots in this intricately woven plot, and the subtle humor that runs throughout the book is an unexpected plus.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on June 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The actual first installment in the Inspector Van Veeteren mystery novels, "Mind's Eye" is a treat waiting for anyone who hasn't discovered this excellent series yet. Two pieces of advice first: as the previous reviewer has already mentioned, leave off reading the plot synopsis on the dustjacket -- it gives away far too much of the plot. The second piece of advice: be prepared for a very different kind of police procedural. Hakan Nesser has taken the genre that the British so excel in (and which we are so familiar with) and managed to make it something intriguingly and uniquely his.

When Eva Mitter is found drowned in her bathtub, the chief suspect quickly becomes her husband of three months, Janek. With no other viable suspects and Janek's suspicious behaviour, it looks like and open and shut case. Certainly Inspector Van Veeteren thinks so. After all who could believe Janek's convenient loss of memory as to what happened that fateful night because he drank too much at dinner? But something about Janek's protestations sets Van Veetern rethinking the entire case, and before long finds himself involved in one of the darkest cases of his career...

This is the second Inspector Van Veeteren I've read ("The Return" being the other one); I've enjoyed both of them very much. Nesser's prose style, while economical and a little sparse at time, and his star detective, Van Veetern is a bit of a curmudgeon, impatient and condescending to boot, and seems to make connections in the case at hand that one doesn't always see and which he doesn't always share with his colleagues, but Neser's clever plotting and is brilliant character portrayals made "Mind's Eye" a very compelling and very engaging read. It was literally unputdownable and I simply had to read on until the very last page. A very good read indeed.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In Hakan Nesser's "Mind's Eye," a high school teacher named Janek Mitter finds his wife of three months, Eva Maria Ringmar, drowned in their bathtub. When Mitter is accused of murdering her, he has no alibi. He claims that, on the night in question, he was asleep in the next room after drinking too much and awoke the next morning suffering from a massive hangover. His defense lawyer candidly tells Mitter that his story is unconvincing. However, Detective Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is not completely sold on the husband's guilt. When a second shocking crime follows on the heels of the first one, Van Veeteren and his team face the daunting task of finding a killer whose boundless rage impels him to commit unspeakable acts.

"Mind's Eye" is not a typical murder mystery. Nesser's biting wit and black humor serve as a sharp counterpoint to an exasperating inquiry that turns out to have many unexpected twists and turns. (In one hilarious scene, a witness that he is interrogating gives Van Veeteren a massage to ease his aching back.) VV, as he is known, is successful at his job because he is an intelligent and forceful leader (although he can be sarcastic, cranky, and patronizing at times), and also because he is curious and capable of making imaginative mental leaps. He doggedly pursues every lead, no matter how tangential. Far from being falsely modest, Van Veeteren prides himself on "being the best interrogating officer in the district, possibly in the country." He wastes no effort on political correctness or deferring to his superiors; VV is very much his own man.

All of the characters are a bit off-beat. Mitter cracks jokes and refuses to act deferential, even during his trial.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James L. Thane on August 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the book that introduced Swedish Inspector Van Veeteren.

After a drunken night of love-making, Janek Mitter awakens to find his wife drowned in the bathtub, and Mitter has absolutely no recollection of what might have happened. Van Veeteren is not completely certain that Mitter is guilty of the murder, but with the evidence stacked against him and no real defense, Mitter is convicted and sent to a mental institution.

After some time in the institution, Mitter is brutally murdered, and Van Veeteren now knows that a tragic error has no doubt been made. He plunges into a full scale investigation of both crimes that leads him to a shocking conclusion.

With this book, Nesser succeeds very well in introducing a very intriguing protagonist, and watching Van Veeteren in action is the real pleasure of reading the book. The crimes themselves are intriguing, but my reservation about the book is that the solution to the crimes results primarily from Van Veeteren's intuition about the murders, little of which is shared with the reader, as opposed to the physical evidence.

Once Van Veeteren intuits the solution to the puzzle, he races around gathering the evidence that will support his conclusion, but the reader is left totally in the dark about the conclusion he has reached. Thus the solution at the end of the book seems to come out of the clear blue sky. The reader is in no way prepared for the resolution that the detective provides.

Meeting Van Veeteren and watching him interact with his colleagues and others is a lot of fun, but you can't help feeling that Nesser has withheld a bit too much of the evidence from the reader, perhaps cheating the reader of the opportunity to accompany Van Veeteren along the road to the solution of the crimes.
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