The police procedure, during the 80’s part of the story, is typical for that era. Less about the rights of the perpetrator and more about the police getting their man. In fact Van Veeteren is 100% convinced of Hennan’s guilt, regardless of the air-tight alibi. So the interviews become a cat and mouse game between the two of them, a power play of detective and possible murderer.
Nesser brings an interesting aspect to the table, whether a person can be inherently evil. Veeteren has prior experience with Hennan and his cruel criminal mind-set, which is why he is convinced of his guilt. Regardless of the fact there is no way Hennan was anywhere near this particular crime scene at the time of the murder, Veeteren knows that he is guilty.
It took me till about three-quarter way through the book to figure out the solution. Yay, me. It sort of came to me like an epiphany.
In the second half of the book it was interesting to see how everyone still deferred to Van Veeteren with the same respect and authority, despite the fact he is retired by then and owns a bookshop. The police think nothing of including him in the investigation into the disappearance of Verlangen.
Verlangen is actually the reason the initial crime is brought back to the table after so many years. The perfect crime, which has haunted Veeteren for many years. He knows who and why, he just can’t figure out how. It is such superb irony that the failed ex-policeman Verlangen is the one who stumbles on the solution and leads Veeteren to the how of it all.
This story has the subtle, slightly dark and smooth quality, which Nesser is known for. His characters are rough around the edges, acerbic and brutally honest. It was a treat, as always.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher.