McCall Smith now extends his gift for comic situations and insightful commentary to a projected series set in Sweden ... McCall Smith uses these cases to shine a revealing light on human nature, including the foibles and heartaches of the investigators ... Detective Varg promises to be a complex series character, and the department itself looks certain to deliver more oddball yet poignant cases.
The master of the gentle mystery kicks off a brand new series with an appealing cast ... Smith leads us on a whimsical romp through three sensitive crimes of a philosophical nature ... This is the perfect foil for another enchanting Alexander McCall Smith series, which fans will relish as our prolific author creates what easily could become a rival to his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels ... This fan wishes that she had the money, youthful vigor and talent to bring this new book to the streaming world of modern-day television. Yes, it’s that good. The charm of it being situated in a foreign country starring people with totally unpronounceable names only goes to underscore the genius of Smith’s universal and gentle appeal to human kindness ... eceives a dewy-eyed hug for its wit, wisdom and philosophical compassion. If it is possible, Smith has outdone himself, and that is quite the accomplishment.
McCall Smith has written dozens of humanistic novels about people and their places with poignancy and humor. So if you expect that type of book, you’ll be delighted by this one. If you don’t expect it, you might be disappointed ... if you like learning about what makes people tick, and you appreciate the underlying absurdity and pathos of life, then Department of Sensitive Crimes will tickle your funny bone and resonate in your heart.
No one will be breathlessly turning the pages to find out which unremarkable conclusion Varg will reach. Still, McCall Smith’s finely tuned sense of human (and canine) nature does keep us keen to find out whether dear Marten is responding to his antidepressants; whether Anna will hold Varg’s gaze a little too long over coffee; whether the protagonist’s psychoanalyst will succeed in convincing us all that the North Pole is a phallic symbol ... McCall Smith knows how to create a world full of sweet things and emotionally true moments and in this new series of 'Scandi blanc' delivers exactly what his fans will be hoping for.
I really enjoyed how Professor McCall Smith wove together all these cases in his novel while also highlighting the personal interactions between and interior lives of each member of the squad ... While I can’t say that I enjoyed this book more than the ones featuring Mr. McCall Smith’s most famed heroine, Mma Precious Ramotswe, I did find it an extremely pleasant read that had just enough touches of Scandinavian realism and place to transport me far away from the setting of his other novels. Thoughtful and gentle, The Department of Sensitive Crimes is a must-read for his fans—or for anyone who wants a break from the bleak violence of Scandi-noir without traveling too far afield from its setting.
Fans of McCall Smith’s No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series will immediately understand the wit that underpins the character-led narrative. Detective work, as in the case of Mma Ramotswe, is best served by being a student of human quirks and highly attuned to tiny details ... McCall Smith has a supreme talent for sketching truly likeable characters who are free to pontificate on all sorts of areas of interest ... The crimes may be inconsequential but the conversations throughout the book are fascinating ... McCall Smith’s humour is usually described as gentle, but readers familiar with the rhythm of his writing will find plenty here to make them snort ... For the McCall Smith first-timer, particularly one versed in the more usual type of Scandinavian crime, this novel will appear deeply odd. But readers who get the joke – and it is a good one – will be eager for the next installment.
Fans of the bestselling author’s long-running franchises won’t be surprised by the two most distinctive features of the gravely waggish department’s caseload: The mysteries seem both utterly inconsequential and quietly provocative, and they have long tails that continue to flop around even after they’re nominally solved.