The job description of fictional Detective Inspectors is that they should be alcoholics, mavericks, insightful, very persuasive, and yet, curiously, trusting. They get into scrapes where everything says, ‘Don’t do it’. But they do. They lure colleagues into committing crimes (in this case breaking and entering) but it’s all for the greater good. Baddies are collared. Incompetent ‘rule-bound’ fellow officers are left in the dust and admiring senior officers glow with pride that they let Harry Hole (on this occasion) get on with it.
So the narrative is set in literary concrete.
Why are they compelling across very different national markets? They are thundering good stories. Nesbo in Nemesis has an omnipotent gypsy in centre stage. Wildly improbable but then so is the fellow detective who literally remembers every single person she ever met. There’s a fellow officer who appears to be a master criminal – you need to read the next book – The Devil’s Star (2003), which I haven’t read, to find out. And I want to find out!!!!! So I guess I’m hooked on a vacuous genre just like millions of other readers.