Thursday, May 9, 2019

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings


It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an eBook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.

Today I'm featuring my current read, The Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith, the first book in his new Detective Varg series.  The excerpts shared are from a hardcover version borrowed from the library.


Beginning: Chapter One
Free Association, Charged at Normal Rates

"Soren," said Dr. Svensson, gravely, but with a smile behind his horn-rimmed glasses; and then waited for the response.  There would be an answer to this one-word sentence, but he would have to wait to see what it was.

Page 56:  "A boyfriend!" exclaimed Signe.  "I never thought you'd manage it."

My thoughts:  Alexander McCall Smith is an accomplished author of popular fiction with many series and stand-alone novels.  I am a reader of his 44 Scotland Street and Isabel Dalhousie series, and am excited to begin another of his series with this book. His trademark humor, quirky characters, and amusing scenarios are making this a lighthearted and delightful read.  

From Goodreads:  In the Swedish criminal justice system, certain cases are considered especially strange and difficult, in Malmo, the dedicated detectives who investigate these crimes are members of an elite squad known as the Sensitive Crimes Division. 

These are their stories.

The first case: the small matter of a man stabbed in the back of the knee. Who would perpetrate such a crime and why? Next: a young woman's imaginary boyfriend goes missing. But how on earth do you search for someone who doesn't exist? And in the final investigation: eerie secrets that are revealed under a full moon may not seem so supernatural in the light of day. No case is too unusual, too complicated, or too, well, insignificant for this squad to solve.

The team: Ulf 'the Wolf" Varg, the top dog, thoughtful and diligent; Anna Bengsdotter, who's in love with Varg's car (and possibly Varg too); Carl Holgersson, who likes nothing more than filling out paperwork; and Erik Nykvist, who is deeply committed to fly fishing.

With the help of a rather verbose local police officer, this crack team gets to the bottom of cases other detectives can't or won't bother to handle. Equal parts hilarious and heartening, The Department of Sensitive Crimes is a tour de farce from a true master.

This Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog,  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter with appropriate recognition is appreciated.


  1. This one looks interesting. I haven't heard of it before, so thanks for mentioning it.

  2. I've been a huge fan of The No.1 ladies Detective Agency series, but haven't tried any of McCall's others. Looks like it is time to check them out. Thank you!

  3. I love his books, they are always delightful. Happy weekend!

  4. Oh boy. I am running over to Goodreads right now and adding this to my TBR list I keep there. My BB and F56 quotes

  5. Oh, I do love the sound of this! "A boyfriend!" exclaimed Signe. "I never thought you'd manage it." Really fun!