The Department of Sensitive Crimes: Detective Varg, Book 1

March 2, 2019 - Comment

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo introduced us to Scandi noir. Now, welcome to Alexander McCall Smith’s world of Scandi blanc…. Ulf Varg works in Malmo’s Department of Sensitive Crimes. Like all Scandinavian detectives he has his issues. In his case these include his unresolved feelings for his colleague, Anna; his impatience over the seeming

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo introduced us to Scandi noir. Now, welcome to Alexander McCall Smith’s world of Scandi blanc….

Ulf Varg works in Malmo’s Department of Sensitive Crimes. Like all Scandinavian detectives he has his issues. In his case these include his unresolved feelings for his colleague, Anna; his impatience over the seeming incompetence of his irritating colleague Blomquist; and his concerns for the health of his hearing-impaired dog, Marten, the only dog in Sweden (and possibly all Scandinavia) who is able to lip-read (in Swedish).

Along with his colleagues, Ulf is called upon to investigate a bizarre attack on a market trader, the disappearance of a handsome man who may or may not exist, and the affairs of a variety of young female students whose relationships with one another leave a great deal to be desired.

Ulf and his team come to realise that the world is a puzzling place, lycanthropy (were-wolfism) exists and fish might have something to teach us. There is so much to learn if you are a Swedish detective, and in the first book in this new quasi-Scandinavian series, Ulf Varg embarks on these lessons with spirit and good humour.

Comments

Anonymous says:

Delightful Dialogue Set in Sweden and described as a Scandi-Blanc lightweight crime novel, this offsets the more usual heavyweight dark crime novels dubbed Scandi-Noir. Lead detective Ulf Varg who is divorced and living with his dog suffering deafness and depression heads a unit in the Malmo police force taking the book’s title: ‘The Department of Sensitive Crimes’. Ulf is assisted by three colleagues: there is Carl as the most dedicated officer, Anna who has feelings for Ulf, and Erik an obsessed angler…

Anonymous says:

ScandiWhite After reading several in the “No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series, I wasn’t surprised to find this an easy, amusing read, that flows along nicely and presents some quirky, interesting, and often likeable characters. We have Ulf Varg (which apparently translates as Wolf Wolf), 38, single again, a detective in the Sensitive Crimes Department of the Malmo Criminal Investigation Authority. With a growing fondness for his colleague Anna, he faces some rather odd cases to solve including a man…

Anonymous says:

A cup of tea rather than a slug of Acquavit! Alexander McCall-Smith has started another series! It is based on a pleasant conceit ‘Scandi-Blanc’ rather than ‘Scand-Noir’. Basically, this is the highly successful (but increasingly boring) Kalahari Deteective School set in Sweden instead of Botswana. The staff are more ‘official’. The hero is male, but in essence it is still a team of seeming losers who usually turn out to be winners.This first offering opens with the obligatory visit to the psychotherapist. When it is clear that our…

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