Hi and welcome to #ScandiSaturday – the Varg Veum edition! Not only #ScandiSaturday but also #StaalesenSaturday AND #BiteSizeSaturday! Crazy shizzle here today on FromBelgiumWithBookLove 😉
The Varg Veum series by Gunnar Staalesen is translated for Orenda Books by Don Bartlett and I’ll be talking to you today about the 17th and 18th instalments.
Like I told you in my introduction to #ScandiSaturday, my Scandi advisor (yes, her again) had warned me that there is a lot of history that readers may miss when they dive into the Varg Veum series. This worried me a bit, but even I, the reader who painstakingly makes sure to read series in the right order and start at the beginning, had to admit that there are A LOT of Varg Veum novels and that if I wanted to do a post about the Orenda ones, I would have to skip the previous ones, even if it did mean missing out on a lot of history.
However, listening to the novels below I never felt like I was missing all that much. I immediately got a feel for Varg, and while I may not know all his history, it was always clear to me why he is who he is or why acts the way he does, I never felt confused and I didn’t feel like there were any continuing storylines that I couldn’t follow because I’d missed their start.
Varg Veum is a private investigator who to me feels like a mix of Sherlock Holmes and (an older) Cormoran Strike, an anti-hero, a little rough around the edges, and a little too fond of aquavit.
I listened to the audiobooks narrated by Colin Mace, who sounds exactly like Varg Veum should sound and whose voice had a strangely calming effect on me. I was both glad and annoyed at this soothing effect, glad because I was listening when COVID-19 was in full swing, so I needed ALL the calm, annoyed because it was so soothing I had to go back a bunch of times because I noticed I hadn’t taken in a single word for at least five minutes. All in all, I would definitely say that it was a pleasant audio experience, so much so that I started listening to the next Varg Veum immediately after finishing the first one.
We Shall Inherit the Wind is the 17th instalment in the Varg Veum series but it was my introduction to the series and like I said above, I didn’t feel lost for a second, there were no continuing storylines I couldn’t make sense of and I’m very happy I took the risk of diving in mid-series. Varg Veum is investigating the disappearance of a windfarm inspector, it looks like an easy case, a straight-forward case, but in reality it is anything but. I didn’t only enjoy the investigation and the ramifications on Varg’s private life, I also enjoyed the underlying windfarm and alternative energy debate. Gunnar Staalesen certainly kept me on my toes with this one and made me a Varg Veum fan all in one go.
Where Roses Never Die is the 18th instalment in the Varg Veum series. In 1977, Mette, a three-year-old girl was taken from her home, never to be seen again, but not forgotten. Now, Mette’s mum contacts PI Varg Veum in one last attempt to uncover the truth of what happened to her little girl. Once more, it all sounds pretty straight-forward, but boy, what a cesspool Varg Veum uncovers! With every layer he peels away, every story he unpicks, an even larger mess appears. I enjoyed the unfolding of Mette’s story in this quite short, to-the-point novel, and the finale, the truth about what happened to Mette almost 25 years ago, took me completely by surprise in the most satisfying way.
I wasn’t planning on talking to you about Varg Veum no. 19, Wolves in the Dark, but I’m listening to it at this very moment and I’m enjoying it so much that I just had to come back to this post to shout about it! Varg finds himself accused of being part of a paedophile ring. Wrongly accused, set up even, he would never ever do such a thing! Would he? Confronted with photographic evidence even he starts to doubt himself and that is where I’m at in this audiobook, the suspense is killing me, let me tell you, so I really hope to finish it over the weekend, and finally find out WTH is happening!
Thanks for joining me today! Have you met Varg Veum? Tell me below! I’ll be back next week with more Scandi Noir!