The Return is an Inspector Van Veeteren mystery, a police procedural set in the fictional town of Maardam with an irascible, but intuitive Inspector as the protagonist.
When a body is discovered missing head and hands, the first difficulty is to discover who the victim is. Eventually, it is determined that the corpse is that of a man who disappeared the day he was released from prison.
Inspector Van Veeteren does much of the piecing together from his hospital bed as he recovers from surgery. (I was making the comparison to Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time and Inspector Alan Grant when Inspector Van Veeteren mentions that his condition reminds himself of that very novel and situation.) And just as Grant comes to the conclusion about Richard III's innocence in the death of the two princes, Van Veeteren comes to believe that Leopold Verhaven was also innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted.
So...if Verhaven wasn't guilty, who actually killed both the two women and Verhaven, himself? When Van Veeteren discovers the real murderer, he faces an ethical question.
I think I'll be looking for more of Hakan Nesser's work. In the first 5 novels, Detective Inspector Van Veeteren is still with the police force; in the last five he is retired from the force and owns an antiquarian bookstore, but he occasionally aids investigations
Fiction. Mystery/Police Procedural. 2007. 322 pages.