Hakan Nesser – Biography


Håkan Nesser (born February 21, 1950) is one of Sweden’s most successful authors, and has written a number of successful novels, mostly crime fiction. He has won Best Swedish Crime Novel Award three times – which is quite remarkable – and his novel Carambole won the Glass Key award in 2000. His books have been translated from Swedish into 9 languages.

Håkan Nesser was born and grew up in Kumla, and has lived most of his adult life in Uppsala. He is a secondary level teacher. His first novel was published in 1988, but he worked as a teacher until 1998 when he became a full-time author, after having become extremely successful as a heavyweight crime writer with his Van Veeteren series. In August, 2006, Håkan Nesser and his wife Elke moved to Greenwich Village in New York. A few years later the couple packed their bags and moved to London.

Hakan Nesser has published 20 books in Swedish. Five of them have so far been translated to English. They are Borkmann’s Point (2006), The Return (2007), The Mind’s Eye (2008), Woman with Birthmark (2009), and The Inspector and Silence (2010). All of these are books in the series about Van Veeteren. The series about Van Veeteren consists of 10 books (in Swedish), just like Sjöwall & Wahlöö’s famous series about Martin Beck did.

A recurring main character is Inspector Van Veeteren, a detective in the early novels and later the owner of an antique books shop. These books play out in a fictitious city called Maardam, said to be located in northern Europe in a country which is never named but resembles Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland and Germany. The names however are mostly Dutch.

With his 2006 crime novel Människa utan hund (Human without Dog) Nesser introduced a new main character, Inspector Gunnar Barbarotti, a Swedish police inspector of Italian descent. He has remained the main ”hero” in Nesser’s crime books since then. Barbarotti is a more upbeat character then Van Veeteren and the books are firmly set in Sweden, although the town of Kymlinge is fictitious.

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