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The Discreet Charm of the Big Bad Wolf

"This fourth book in the charming Detective Varg series delivers a delight of whimsy, humour, mystery and humanity."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Accurately christened “Scandi blanc”, Alexander McCall Smith’s Detective Varg series is funny, farcical, and filled with entertaining musings on human nature. And that’s especially true of The Discreet Charm of the Big Bad Wolf, the fourth book in the series, that sees Ulf Varg’s Department of Sensitive Crimes forced to downsize after a reduction in said sensitive crimes.

For readers who are new to the delightful Detective Varg books, Ulf Varg is a senior detective. He’s also the “driver of a classic silver Saab, and owner of a hearing-impaired dog known as Martin”. This novel opens with Ulf in typically wistful mode: “Nothing lasts forever, Ulf reminded himself: everything we see around us, people, buildings, roads even Sweden itself would in due course disappear”.

In this case, someone’s cabin has disappeared and it’s down to Ulf to work out what’s happened to it, while his department is about to be shrunk. Add to this fractious feelings from a friend and colleague, and the prospect of Martin’s deafness being treated, and The Discreet Charm of the Big Bad Wolf adds up to an engaging, richly rewarding escapist read that throngs with mystery, humour and tender observations.

Joanne Owen

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