From the days of the exotic pre-war melodrama to Trenter's portrayal of Stockholm from the '40s, location has always played an important role in the Swedish detective story. Nesser's Van Veeteren novels are unusual in that they have a fictional setting, the city of Maardam being "somewhere in Europe". Nesser portrays in Van Veeteren a man of principle, worn down by the persistence of violent crime, a man who has experienced his share of domestic problems and family tragedy. "As far as Van Veeteren is concerned, the eternal questions are more important; he worries about guilt and punishment, about the existence of evil, about human shortcomings." (Nesser talking to Marie Petersen & Ragnar Strömberg, SBR: 1997:1, p.35; first published Göteborgs-Posten, 24.12.95).

We present Laurie Thompson's translation of an extract from Carambole.