Day 288: The Return

Cover for The ReturnDuring a nursery school outing in a forest, a little girl finds a body. A corpse, headless, handless, and footless, is buried in the woods and has been there at least six months.

Inspector Van Veeteren has some difficulties even identifying the body. Any man the age of the corpse who has been reported missing does not fit the description.

Van Veeteren has already entered the hospital for colon surgery before a woman reports that the body may belong to her estranged brother–once a famous athlete who was accused of cheating and was later found guilty of murdering two of his ex-lovers. It appears that the victim, Leopold Verhaven, had been released from prison shortly before the murder.

The investigation of Verhaven’s murder naturally leads back to the murders for which he was imprisoned. Van Veeteren has plenty of time to read the trial transcripts in the hospital and finds that Verhaven was convicted on very little evidence. Eventually the team is lead to consider whether Verhaven was guilty of the murders at all.

As Van Veeteren follows up on his own while on leave, his team having been removed from the case, we get a lot of insight into his character, although not as much into that of his team members. This novel is interesting and dark, and in the course of it, a line is to be crossed.

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