It was a bee-yoo-ti-ful day in Mendocino.
The sun was shining, the sea was sparkling. Self went back to Mendosa’s market on Lansing Street and got another bowl of that sinfully delicious clam chowder.
Then she went back to her apartment and continued reading Hakan Nesser’s Woman With Birthmark.
Despite the weird title (and the fact that she’s only about 80 pages to the end and has no idea what birthmark has to do with anything because it’s never been mentioned, not even once), she really enjoys the author’s style. The main character, Inspector Van Veeteren, is about 80% less moody than Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander, but self thinks it’s about time she stumbled on a Swedish mystery writer who doesn’t feel the need to be so glum.
And there are all these little side-stories, and quick glimpses of the home lives of the detectives working the case, and it’s very enjoyable. The first break comes from the girlfriend of one of the detectives who remarks, almost in passing, that the person who killed three men (by shooting their privates) was probably a woman. Of course, that may seem obvious, but the way the girlfriend tosses off that statement, at an early stage of the investigation, is the first clue (Of course, one could say that it’s not the first clue; the first clue is the title: Woman with Birthmark)
The next break comes when the next-door neighbor to the suspect turns out to be a very thoughtful, fastidious woman, not prone to exaggeration or attention-grabbing, who gives the detectives a clear picture of what her mysterious new female neighbor was doing on the night(s) of said murder(s).
And the third clue is a crime scene photographer named Klaarentoft (all the minor characters have names, which is delightful) who takes pictures at the funerals of the murder victims, pictures which seem odd because he took so many (no less than 12 pictures) of just one person, the clergyman. Inspector Van Veeteren decides to take a closer look at the photographs and has an epiphany:
“I need enlargements of these two, can you do that?”
Klaarentoft took the pictures and looked at them.
“Of course,” he said. “Is it . . . ”
“Is it her? Maria Adler?”
“You can bet your life it is,” said Reinhart.
“I thought there was something odd about her.”
“He has a keen nose,” said Reinhart when Klaarentoft had left.
“Yes indeed,” said Van Veeteren. “He took twelve pictures of the clergyman as well. We’d better arrest him right away.”
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.