Håkan Nesser has written ten books in his Inspector Van Veeteren series, but The Inspector and Silence is the last one I could find in English. This is SO UNFAIR! (words and intonation courtesy of my seven-year-old).
In this the fifth book in the series, Van Veeteren is thinking that he really can’t take his job anymore, so he makes plans to visit Greece for a couple of weeks. Then, wouldn’t you know it, he gets a call from a young officer in a podunk town whose boss is on vacation and who told him that should something important happen he should call Van Veeteren, who owes him one, rather than disturb the boss’ vacation. Well, that part of it was a bit unrealistic, but leave that aside to enjoy the mystery.
The young officer, Merwin Kluuge, is more than a bit overmatched by his situation: he received a phone call from an anonymous woman who tells him that a girl has been murdered at a nearby religious retreat called The Pure Life, led by a cult-like older priest figure named Oscar Yellinek. But neither he nor the three women (wives?) who supervise the dozen tween girls at the camp will admit that anyone is missing. Still, the anonymous caller phones again, insisting that the police do something.
Van Veeteren steps in, and when a girl’s body is found near the camp and Yellinek goes missing, calls in some of his team from Maardam. Their investigation is frustrated, however, by the fact that none of the women or young girls will talk to them about life in the camp, the girl, or what happened the last time they saw her. The Inspector must yet again turn to his famed intuition to figure out what’s going on.
But this book is different from the others in the series because of how it ends. Van Veeteren, it seems, finally really has had enough of crime, criminals, recalcitrant witnesses, and violence. His trip to Greece has to be cancelled, but that doesn’t mean he’s going back to life as usual. And that’s where the book ends… and there are 5 more books in the series… and I can’t read them! To quote my child again, “frus-ter-ating.”