Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Weeping Girl by Hakan Nesser

The Weeping Girl (2000)

by Hakan Nesser

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Inspector Van Veeteren (8)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
271641,869 (3.43)2



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

English (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All (5)
Showing 2 of 2
The Van Veeteren series from Sweden's Hakan Nesser consists of ten titles published between 1993 and 2003. The series is set in a fictitious country, probably northern European, which differentiates Nesser from other crime writers, at least those I have read. So far all but the last book in the series have been translated into English, with some of the earlier titles translated out of sequence. The odd thing for me, and something the reader needs to be aware of, is that Chief Inspector Van Veeteren himself does not feature very much in a number of the books, from book six (The unlucky Lottery) in fact, as by then he has retired. Book nine (The Strangler’s Honeymoon) does see him play a greater part, but he only makes a cameo appearance in the eight book in the series and my most recent read, The Weeping Girl (publ. 2000, English transl. 2013).

Instead it is Detective Inspector Ewa Moreno who features most prominently in ‘The Weeping Girl’ as she becomes involved in the case of a missing girl while she is supposedly on holidays with her boyfriend. Supposedly I say because she seems to find it very hard to drag herself away from her work, whether it be by choice or circumstance. Moreno is a dedicated, compassionate, resolute police officer who finds it difficult to subdue her curiosity and her desire to investigate. On the train journey to her holiday destination she meets a young woman who is on her way to meet her father for the first time after finding out about him on her 18th birthday. He, a former teacher, is now in a psychiatric unit having been convicted of the murder of a female student some sixteen years before, a student he had a brief affair with. Soon after meeting her father the girl goes missing, and soon after that the father too. A body soon shows up and the mystery surrounding the events present and past is too much for DI Moreno to ignore.

Then too there is a sub-plot concerning a villain who has information that suggests that a colleague of Moreno’s is a paedophile, and it is this story that allows Van Veeteren to make his cameo appearance; in fact it is difficult to see what other reason the sub-plot serves, as to my mind it adds little in anything to the storyline. This sub-plot could have got a lot more attention for it had the potential to be an interesting story of itself.

A further sub-plot concerns Moreno’s personal life and her difficulty in having one, probably made all the more so by her reluctance to commit. If you are expecting anything new or surprising in regards to how this aspect of the story is dealt with, don’t, you will be disappointed. The path that this particular relationship takes mirrors that of many police officer relationships in crime novels, exceptions noted.

Yet there are surprises in ‘The Weeping Girl’, it is far from predictable, and you will likely be kept guessing ‘til the end. Nesser is generally good on atmosphere and characterisation, but this book did not quite hit the heights of others such as Borkmanns’ Point, Hour of the Wolf and The Strangler’s Honeymoon. Nevertheless, if a Nesser fan, I think you will enjoy it well enough. Three stars out of five from me. ( )
  ebyrne41 | Jan 10, 2014 |
I have written before of my growing dissatisfaction over the genre-fication of literature but nothing riles me quite so much as when people can’t even be bothered to get their pesky labelling correct. Whatever it is, THE WEEPING GIRL is not, as the pull quote from The Guardian proclaims on the copy I read, “the best of Nordic Noir“. I know the phrase alliterates well but there’s really nothing noir-ish about this tale of the tragedy that results from a young girl changing her mind one day in 1983.

Shortly after making this fateful decision Winnie Maas lies dead on a railway track and we don’t learn more about her until much later in the novel. Instead action moves to 1999 where DI Ewa Moreno of the Maardam police station is about to go on four weeks’ holiday. Before leaving though she is called into her boss’ office where he asks her to do a little bit of work on her holidays. A career criminal has been caught and is willing to dish the dirt on some of his associates in return for some favours, but he will only talk to Moreno. As he was caught near where Moreno is due to go on holidays it does not seem like a huge burden to interview him and so she agrees. And while it ultimately proves to be a highly distasteful experience for Moreno and her colleagues this thread does not form the main crux of the novel. On her train trip to Lejnice she meets a young girl who is on her way to the same town to meet her father, a man she hasn’t seen since she was two because ‘he did something bad’ and has been in psychiatric care ever since. A few days later Moreno is in the local police station when this girl’s mother arrives to report her daughter missing and Moreno can’t help but get involved, especially as the local police chief appears particularly incompetent.

Having retired his popular Inspector Van Veeteren to life as a bookseller Nesser’s really allowed his protégé, Ewa Moreno, to take centre stage here (though her former boss does make a cameo appearance). She contrasts in almost every way with Van Veeteren – she’s female, in her 30′s and as yet is not married nor had any children – so there is little temptation to compare the two leads which allows her to shine in her own right. She does share Van Veeteren’s intelligence and dedication, fine traits in any procedural’s protagonist, though I must admit I missed the humour I associated with her former boss. There is still a strain of the wit here but it’s muted in comparison to the earlier books I’ve read.

But the main feature of this novel is really the story which is deftly told, slowly revealing the enormity of the tragedy which had taken place 16 years earlier and the lasting ramifications it had – was still having – for all involved. The thing I loved, and admired, about the plot is that every time I thought I had figured out the next twist I turned out to be wrong as Nesser had been cleverer, and subtler, than I was giving him credit for. The ending is unexpected and I found it satisfying even with a certain moral ambiguity on display.

Although it’s longer than my ideal book I found THE WEEPING GIRL quick to read and the sort of book I longed to get back to whenever I was forced to put it down. As it requires no knowledge of the earlier books in the series it is a novel I feel happy to recommend to all crime fiction fans, even if you’re not acquainted with Nesser’s most well-known character.
  bsquaredinoz | Jul 14, 2013 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hakan Nesserprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sybesma, EdithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Så föröder vi våra liv, i stunder och ögonblick då vi inte tillmäter våra handlingar deras rätta vikt. Tomas Borgmann, filosof
First words
Winnie Maas dog för att hon ändrade sig.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

For Ewa Moreno, Chief Inspector Van Veeteren's protege, this is her most perplexing case yet...Winnie Maas died because she changed her mind...A community is left reeling after a teacher - Arnold Maager - is convicted of murdering his female pupil Winnie Maas. It seems the girl had been pregnant with Maager's child. Years later, on her eighteenth birthday, Maager's daughter Mikaela finally learns the terrible truth about her father. Desperate for answers, Mikaela travels to the institution at Lejnice, where Maager has been held since his trial. But soon afterwards she inexplicably vanishes. Detective Inspector Ewa Moreno from the Maardam Police is on holiday in the area when she finds herself drawn into Mikaela's disappearance. But before she can make any headway in the case, Maager himself disappears - and then a body is found. It will soon become clear to Ewa that only unravelling the events of the past will unlock this dark mystery...… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
67 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.43)
1.5 1
2 4
2.5 3
3 11
3.5 9
4 21
4.5 1
5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 117,089,671 books! | Top bar: Always visible