The Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith
Detective Ulf Varg (yes, his name does mean Wolf Wolf) is the head of the Department of Sensitive Crimes in Malmö, Sweden. He and his small group of colleagues investigate the more unusual crimes. Through the course of the book they need to figure out who stabbed a man in the back of the knee and why? Search out a missing boyfriend who may or may not be a real person. And discover the origins of strange seemingly supernatural occurrences at a local spa whose owner has political connections. Will the detectives solve the cases? You know they will! But you also know that things will be very strange and sensitive.
This book is advertised as a “gentle parody” of Scandinavian noir and I think that is a perfect description. The colleagues are all quirky themselves but very realistic. I found myself smiling at their interactions as the conversations go completely off topic before circling back around to the matter at hand. By almost pointing a finger at the absurdity of everyday conversational acrobatics you can appreciate how realistically the author handled the dialogue. I found myself observing all the conversations I had during the day or two after reading this book and it’s pretty funny how all over the place human interactions can be; something we all know but forget about, but a great illustration on why some people have such a hard time at small talk and when conversations go off the rails in strange ways. Those looking for odd mysteries that are solved by clever deduction will also appreciate the work done by the Department of Sensitive Crimes.
And yes, copious amounts of coffee are consumed within these pages.