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Intrigo

Written by: Håkan Nesser
Narrated by: Sean Barrett, Kate Rawson
Length: 14 hrs and 13 mins

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Publisher's Summary

For fans of Scandinavian crime, Intrigo is the gripping collection of Håkan Nesser’s best novellas and short stories, three of which have been adapted into major motion pictures.

Set in the fictional city of Maardam, each story is linked by themes of secrets coming to light, lies being exposed and pasts coming back to haunt the people who thought they had fled them - all told in Håkan Nesser’s signature style of dark, cutting prose that displays a true understanding of human nature.

The collection is the basis for a trilogy of international films - Dear Agnes, Death of an Author and Samaria - directed by Daniel Alfredson and starring Ben Kingsley and Gemma Chan.

©2018 Håkan Nesser (P)2018 Macmillan Digital Audio

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  • Alex
  • 05-10-19

Like bad episodes of 'Tales Of The Unexpected'.

I was a fan of Nesser's early work. I read and enjoyed all the books and saw all the films based on them. There was a definite drop-off in quality as they went along and the last couple of Van Veeteren books were quite poor. The English translations of the books always ran 10 or more years behind their original language publication, and it was the earlier ones I liked best. I was a bit wary of this one when I saw that most of the stories were from the more recent end of his work. Although I bought it I kept putting off listening to it. When I did get round to it I wanted to like it but I'm afraid I thought it was awful, and couldn't finish it.

The stories I did listen to all sounded like really bad episodes of the old TV show 'Tales Of The Unexpected'. The only thing unexpected was how long it took to get to the 'surprise' ending. So much so that it seemed like the author was trying to make a required word count for a contractual obligation. Predictable, repetitive, and derivative, but at least the debt to Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train was acknowledged in Dear Agnes, the one story read by Kate Rawson.

As Dear Agnes was almost all in the form of an epistolary tale between two women it made sense to have a female narrator. The other stories were read by Sean Barrett, who is probably my favourite narrator and did his usual high standard job. Having said that, it is always a weakness in audio books when a single narrator has to voice characters of the opposite sex. I felt the publishers missed a trick when they had a male and female narrator anyway, not to split the dialogue between them.

I'll be returning the title, and I doubt if I will read/listen to any more by Håkan Nesser. A pity as I really did enjoy the early Van Veeteren books.