Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Unlucky Lottery - Hakan Nesser

What is it with Nesser and the clunky titles?  The Unlucky Lottery sounds like a kiddies' book along the lines of The Big Red Bike.  To be fair, the blame surely lies with those who publish the English translations - Nesser's Swedish original was called Munsters Fall which at least has the virtue of relevance.

The lottery here is merely the mcguffin to get things going.  And it justifies one of the great opening lines: "The last day of Waldemar Leverkuhn's life could hardly have begun better."  Then we are back in the familiar/unfamiliar locale of Nesser's not-exactly-Netherlands.

The story is neatly unravelled - with one glorious red herring - but suffers, in my view, from being officially one of the Van Veeteren series, when the semi-retired Inspector isn't dislodged from among his antiquarian books until page 205 and contributes precisely zilch to solving the case.  In truth, he just slows things down unnecessarily.

Nesser really writes top quality Eurocrime.  I recommend him to friends.  Next time, though, I hope to sample one with a sensible English title.

I also recommend Conor Carton's critique of The Unlucky Lottery, which you can find here.

No comments:

Post a Comment