Håkan Nesser


Håkan Nesser's tour de force.

Apr 21, 2019
Dimitris Passas

Intrigo is a collection of novellas and short stories written by the Swedish literary crime fiction writer, Håkan Nesser. There are 5 stories in total and three of them are adapted to cinema movies (Death of an Author, Samaria, Dear Agnes), directed by Daniel Alfredson. All five novellas and short stories are written in the style that made Nesser famous to the wider crime fiction audiences and all the trademark qualities of his prose are present. The characterization is excellent as Nesser effectively outlines his main characters in a limited number of pages while the plot is also absorbing especially in the two stories, Rein and Dear Agnes. I read Intrigo in Kindle format so I had the opportunity to make a vast number of notes and highlights as I relished this wonderful text. The writing is so good that I didn't want to finish reading this book and that is a feeling I don't often experience.

Rein is about a translator's struggle to find his long-missing wife while, at the same time, trying to decipher the last manuscript written by an eccentric author who was found dead and foul play is suspected. This was one of the best crime novellas I've read in a long time and I found the plotline to be compelling and suspenseful.

Dear Agnes is a novella narrated mainly through the letter correspondence between the two main characters and the plot is reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith's classic novel, Strangers on a Train. There is a nice twist in the finale that turns the story upside down and the tempo that that this story unfolds is fast, adding to the excitement.

The Flower from Samaria brings to mind the Van Veeteren book series as this is a crime story with melancholic undertones, emphasizing not so much in the plotline, but mainly in the character's inner thoughts and feelings as he is trying to come in terms with sad events from his past.

In my opinion, Intrigo is H. Nesser's magnum opus and one of the best crime books of the year. In an interview that the author gave along with the film director, Daniel Alfredson, he said that it is one of the rare times that the film is equal to the book's quality, so I can't wait to watch the movie trilogy that will be released soon. This book will appeal to those who enjoy literary crime fiction in the style of Gunnar Staalesen, Derek B. Miller, and Dennis Lehane.

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Håkan Nesser

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