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The Department of Sensitive Crimes

A Detective Varg Novel
Narrated by: David Rintoul
Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the beloved and best-selling author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series comes a lighthearted comedic novel about a Swedish police department tasked with solving the most unusual, complicated, and, often, insignificant crimes. 

The detectives who work in Malmo Police's Department of Sensitive Crimes take their job very seriously. The lead detective, Ulf Varg, prioritizes his cases above even his dog's mental health. Then there are detectives Anna Bengsdotter, who keeps her relationship with Varg professional even as she realizes she's developing feelings for him...or at least for his car, and Carl Holgersson, first to arrive in the morning and last to leave, who would never read his colleagues' personal correspondence - unless it could help solve a crime, of course. Finally, there's Erik Nykvist, who peppers conversations with anecdotes about fly fishing. 

Along with an opinionated local police officer named Blomquist, the Department of Sensitive Crimes takes on three extremely strange cases. First, the detectives investigate how and why a local business owner was stabbed...in the back of the knee. Next, a young woman's imaginary boyfriend goes missing. And, in the final investigation, Varg must determine whether nocturnal visitations at a local spa have a supernatural element. 

Using his renowned wit and warmth, Alexander McCall Smith brings a unique perspective on Scandinavian crime. Equal parts hilarious and heartening, The Department of Sensitive Crimes is a tour de farce from a literary master.

©2019 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2019 Recorded Books

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Marguerite k.
  • 2019-05-08

poor review is due to narration only

I didn't listen to much of the book so it is unfair to review the story-it's just that Audible requires a rating in order to proceed with the review. I could not continue listening due to the narrator. It's something I've encountered with a few other narrators - the tendency to lower the voice volume to a near whipser, usually at the end of a sentence. Due to the flucuations in volume, if I"m in my car I find myself having to raise the volume control in order to hear all of the words, and get blasted with the rest, or keep the volume at normal and then either strain to hear the rest or just resigned to miss what's said. THis narrator's voice also has that garbled tone which makes it even more difficult to make out what's said. I'm getting a refund and will be buying the kindle edition.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sandy
  • 2019-05-05

It’s not like his first few

Well read but poorly recorded , volume went up and down. We listened to 20 some odd of Alexander McCall Smith’s books
really enjoyed his first two and much of the ladies number one detective agency were really really good
now this book is a little bit transparently moral and a little bit boring and not as engaging as were his books from long ago, sad to say

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Therol L. Dix
  • 2019-04-30

Review for the Department of Sensitive Crimes

This was for the most part a wonderful story and well written. Definitely well performed. Only the last story regarding werewolves and wolves was a letdown. The first 2/3 of the book was delightful, but the interjection of the third story seemed out of place. I would have preferred the author had intertwined the storylines established in the first part of the book in the end in a humorous way. I think this could have been successful because of the oddness of the premise of the story and the nature of the “crimes“ investigated by the main character. Still I think this is a wonderful debut book, and I look forward to the next.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • SW Clemens
  • 2019-04-30

Highly Amusing

This is a laugh out loud funny book. I listened to the audible edition of this book on my run, and couldn't help startling innocent strangers as I guffawed from one chapter to the next. I love the humor, the philosophy, the poignant longing of the characters to break free from their inner and outer restraints. This is the first in this new series that the author dubs "Scandinavian blanc," as opposed to Scandinavian noir, following the life and cases of detective Ulf Varg. Like McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series, this volume is episodic in structure, with no real resolution to the over-arching structure of the series, which is perhaps its only real weakness — We're left wondering what Ulf will do next, and that, I suspect, is the mark of a good series. Like life, it will take time to unfold.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dia-len
  • 2019-05-04

McCall Smith Time

I purchased this book a while ago and I didn't listen to it because it seems slow to start. I picked it up a few weeks later and it was interesting I couldn't put it down. The story between the stories are interesting. The narration was great and if you're a McCall fan you'll love it if not maybe you won't so much

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sally
  • 2019-06-24

Made me smile

Quirky characters and unusual “cases” add up to a very appealing, low-key book. Think of it as the antidote to too many graphic crime novels. The writing and narration are both very good. The book has both humor and pathos. Musings like “Life is a progression of partings” could be depressing in the hands of a less skilled writer, but here they are not. I hope for more books in this series.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • shortforu
  • 2019-06-03

very disappointed...

I hate writing a poor review of an AMS book, as I've read nearly 90% of what he has written. But I did not enjoy this book at all. Did not find the characters or story compelling in any way. The narrator is excellent but the material for me was extremely lacking.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennifer
  • 2019-05-23

Too derivative

Seems like Alexander McCall Smith is recycling his ideas, just in a new setting. Quirky dog - check. Quirky car - check. Quirky detective - check. Really pretty forgettable.