The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo introduced us to 'Scandi noir'. Now, welcome to Alexander McCall Smith's world of Scandi blanc . . .
The second book in Alexander McCall Smith's new DETECTIVE VARG series . . .
'Reading the novel feels like a form of meditation . . . There is much to enjoy' Scotsman
Spring is coming slowly to Sweden - though not quite as slowly as Detective Ulf Varg's promised promotion at the Department of Sensitive Crimes. For Varg, referred by his psychoanalyst to group therapy at Malmo's Wholeness Centre, life now seems mostly a circle of self-examination, something which may or may not be useful when it comes to the nature of his profession and the particularly sensitive cases that have recently come to light.
All in a day's work for Detective Varg, except that one of his new investigations involves fellow detective Anna; it will require every ounce of self-discipline he has in order to remain professional. The other, more curious case is centred around internationally successful novelist Nils Personn-Cederstrom. According to his girlfriend, Cederstrom is being blackmailed - but by whom and for what reason?
Accompanied by his irritating but kindly colleague Blomquist, Varg begins his enquiries and soon the answers fall neatly into place. Nothing and no one is ever that simple, however, and not for the first time he learns as much about his own emotional and moral landscape as he does about the motives of others. Now Varg must make a possibly life-changing decision. Will he choose his own happiness over that of his heart's desire?
McCall Smith's continuing warm-heartedness makes Ulf such unfailingly good company - Reader's Digest
Wonderfully soothing and relaxing . . . while McCall Smith's world may be a highly selective reshaping of the real one, he has the creative power to make it seem, in its quiet way, truer than truth . . . it left me with a warm glow that lasted through several news bulletins - Telegraph
Heaven is in the detail with this sort of escapist writing. It's like AA Milne meets Karl Ove Knausgaard. McCall Smith knows how to create a world full of sweet things and emotionally true moments and in this new series of "Scandi blanc" delivers exactly what his fans will be hoping for - Financial Times
Alexander McCall Smith is the author of over one hundred books on a wide array of subjects, including the award-winning The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. He is also the author of the Isabel Dalhousie novels and the world's longest-running serial novel, 44 Scotland Street. His books have been translated into forty-six languages. Alexander McCall Smith is Professor Emeritus of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh and holds honorary doctorates from thirteen universities.