Münster, who feels very much like a stopgap sleuth, cuts an even less assuming figure than Van Veeteren, who pops up as a...


Throughout his first five appearances translated into English (The Inspector and Silence, 2011, etc.), Chief Inspector Van Veeteren has constantly threatened to retire, but this time he seems to mean it, leaving the scant detecting honors here to Inspector Münster.

Waldemar Leverkuhn’s lucky day, which begins when he splits a lottery prize of 20,000 guilders with three old friends, ends when he’s stabbed 28 times as he sleeps off his drunken celebration. That same night, fellow winner Felix Bonger goes missing from his houseboat, and shortly thereafter so does Else Van Eck, the wife of the caretaker in Leverkuhn’s building. The Leverkuhn children are no help in Münster’s investigation. The eldest daughter, Irene, has been a patient in a mental hospital for years, and her lesbian sister Ruth and weak-kneed brother Mauritz haven’t remained close enough to their parents to offer any helpful information. The biggest break in the case comes when Leverkuhn’s wife, Marie-Louise, who’s been acting more shocked than grief-stricken, suddenly confesses to his murder and—this being an unspecified fictional country that combines features of Sweden, Finland and Holland, but certainly not the U.S.—is promptly put on trial. From beginning to end, in fact, the case is driven not by any discoveries the police make but by developments outside their control.

Münster, who feels very much like a stopgap sleuth, cuts an even less assuming figure than Van Veeteren, who pops up as a kind of Greek chorus from time to time to remind you that it’s his franchise. The mystery, like the detection, manages to be both routine and gripping.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-90686-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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One of her best. Poirot, again on vacation, falls foul of a murder on board a Nile river steamer, followed by two successive murders, obviously connected. A sophisticated group, an ingenious plot, clever deduction, swift-paced narrative. A little romance on the side lends glamour. First rate entertainment.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 1938

ISBN: 0062073559

Page Count: 354

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1938

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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