The talented Mr. Varg

Alexander McCall Smith, 1948-

Book - 2020

"In the second installment in the best-selling Detective Varg Novels, Ulf and his team investigate a notorious lothario--a wolf of a man whose bad reputation may, much to his chagrin, be all bark and no bite. The Department of Sensitive Crimes, renowned for taking on the most obscure and irrelevant cases, led by Ulf Varg, their best detective, is always prepared to take on an investigation, no matter how complex. So when Ulf is approached by the girlfriend of Trig Oloffson, who claims her b...eau (the infamous bad boy of Swedish letters) is being blackmailed, Ulf is determined to help. It turns out that this wild bear of a man may be more of a teddy. And while Swedes are notoriously tolerant, finding out that their beloved rough and tumble ink slinger is more likely to use a pen than a sword . . . well, there are limits. Even for the Swedish. The case requires all of Ulf's concentration, but he finds himself distracted by his brother's questionable politics and meteoric rise within the Moderate Extremist Party and by his own constant attraction to his married co-worker Anna. When Ulf is then tasked with looking into a group of dealers exporting wolves that seem decidedly domestic, it will require all of his team's investigative instincts and dogged persistence to put these matters to bed"--

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Series
McCall Smith, Alexander, 1948- Detective Varg novel ; 2.
Subjects
Genres
Humorous fiction
Mystery fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Published
New York : Pantheon Books [2020]
Language
English
Physical Description
228 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781524748968
152474896X
Main Author
Alexander McCall Smith, 1948- (author)
Review by PW Annex Reviews

Smith's disappointing sequel to 2019's The Department of Sensitive Crimes has its memorable and moving moments, but not enough of them. Det. Ulf Varg and the other members of Sweden's Department of Sensitive Crimes handle cases with political or social angles, not run-of-the-mill cases. Varg and his colleagues, despite their special status, must work in a bureaucracy where supplies can only be ordered by an item number they aren't given access to, leading them to request something at random so they can start to link items with their identifying numbers. Other mild satire includes Varg's politician brother belonging to the Moderate Extremists Party. One plotline focuses on the possible blackmail of a prominent author known as Sweden's Hemingway; another involves an allegation of fraud in international dog sales. The heart of the book is Varg, who just may be too sensitive to handle sensitive crimes. At one point, he has to balance self-interest and ethics when a colleague he has a crush on asks him to look into whether her husband is having an affair. This entry falls short of the high standard set by Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books. Agent: Robin Straus, Robin Straus Agency. (Apr.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"In the second installment in the best-selling Detective Varg Novels, Ulf and his team investigate a notorious lothario--a wolf of a man whose bad reputation may, much to his chagrin, be all bark and no bite. The Department of Sensitive Crimes, renowned for taking on the most obscure and irrelevant cases, led by Ulf Varg, their best detective, is always prepared to take on an investigation, no matter how complex. So when Ulf is approached by the girlfriend of Trig Oloffson, who claims her beau (the infamous bad boy of Swedish letters) is being blackmailed, Ulf is determined to help. It turns out that this wild bear of a man may be more of a teddy. And while Swedes are notoriously tolerant, finding out that their beloved rough and tumble ink slinger is more likely to use a pen than a sword . . . well, there are limits. Even for the Swedish. The case requires all of Ulf's concentration, but he finds himself distracted by his brother's questionable politics and meteoric rise within the Moderate Extremist Party and by his own constant attraction to his married co-worker Anna. When Ulf is then tasked with looking into a group of dealers exporting wolves that seem decidedly domestic, it will require all of his team's investigative instincts and dogged persistence to put these matters to bed"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A sequel to The Department of Sensitive Crimes finds detective Ulf Varg and his team investigating a playboy whose blackmailing case is complicated by Ulf’s brother’s questionable politics. By the author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

In the second installment in the best-selling Detective Varg series, Ulf and his team investigate a notorious philanderer—a wolf of a man whose bad reputation may be all bark and no bite.  The Department of Sensitive Crimes, renowned for taking on the most obscure and irrelevant cases is always prepared to dive into an investigation, no matter how complex. So when the girlfriend of an infamous author who insists her bad-boy beau is being blackmailed approaches Ulf Varg, the department’s lead detective, Ulf is determined to help. It’s rather difficult to determine what skeletons hide in the hard-living lothario’s closet, though. And while Swedes are notoriously tolerant . . . well, there are limits. Even for the Swedish.   The case requires Ulf’s total concentration, but he finds himself distracted by his ongoing attraction to his co-worker, Anna, whose own fears about her husband’s fidelity are causing a strain on her marriage. When Ulf is also tasked with looking into a group of dealers exporting wolves that seem more canis familiaris than canis lupus, it will require all of his team’s investigative instincts and dogged persistence to put these matters to bed.