Readers who like the British-style mysteries in which a lot of the characters’ time is spent taking tea, fixing meals, gardening, and allowing the reader to get to know everyone will appreciate this book. It is not for those who prefer the roller-coaster experience.
This is the sixth mystery in the Claes Claesson series, featuring Police Commissioner Claes Claesson and his wife Veronika Lundborg, a doctor at Oskarshamn Hospital. The author used to work as a doctor there, and the scenes taking place in the hospital have an air of authenticity one doesn’t usually find in crime novels.
As the story begins, Carl-Ivar Olsson, a local rug dealer, is murdered while in Istanbul on a rug-buying trip. Thus Claes and one of his fellow officers who speaks Turkish, Mustafa Ozen, have to make a trip to Istanbul to investigate the crime. Meanwhile back in Oskarshamn, there are further crimes related to Olsson’s store and Turkish rugs, and at times, the hijinks come to resemble those in Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters, another crime novel dealing with objets d′art. For the most part, however, the story is a slow-moving and realistic-seeming depiction of the quotidian progression from crime to resolution, with the investigating principals juggling home and work life, errands and kids, and the need for evidence versus the difficulty of obtaining it.
In the course of resolving the crime, we, along with the police, come to learn a great deal about the religious, cultural, and historical significance of different kinds of Turkish carpets and rugs. There isn’t too much of it, yet it is interesting enough that one wishes the book included illustrations! (Fortunately for us, we can supplement our reading with the Internet; there is a lovely post with info and pictures on Wikipedia, here.)
Evaluation: In spite of this book being part of a series, I was in no way hampered by a lack of knowledge about the previous five books. I found the book entertaining, if not a page-turner. The detailed confession at the end of the book didn’t seem realistic to me. It added a bit of interest, however, that two other crimes were left unresolved, even though the police knew the likely perpetrators.
Published by Stockholm Text, 2012