Alexander McCall Smith’s ‘The Department of Sensitive Crimes’ coming March 7th in the UK

Alexander McCall Smith’s novel The Department of Sensitive Crimes kicks off the new Detective Varg series

The new Alexander McCall Smith novel The Department of Sensitive Crimes is due for release on March 7th.

It will be the first book in a brand new crime series starring a Swedish detective called Detective Varg. A detective series that is in a new genre for McCall Smith. The genre of ‘Scandi blanc’ (as oppose to Scandi noir).

The publisher’s blurb for Alexander McCall Smith’s The Department of Sensitive Crimes explains it this way:


Ulf Varg works in Malmo’s Department of Sensitive Crimes. Like all Scandinavian detectives he has his issues. In his case these include his unresolved feelings for his colleague, Anna; his impatience over the seeming incompetence of his irritating colleague Blomquist; and his concerns for the health of his hearing-impaired dog, Marten, the only dog in Sweden (and possibly all Scandinavia) who is able to lip-read (in Swedish). 

Along with his colleagues, Ulf is called upon to investigate a bizarre attack on a market trader, the disappearance of a handsome man who may or may not exist, and the affairs of a variety of young female students whose relationships with one another leave a great deal to be desired.

Ulf and his team come to realise that the world is a puzzling place, lycanthropy (were-wolfism) exists and fish might have something to teach us.

There is so much to learn if you are a Swedish detective, and in the first book in this new quasi-Scandinavian series, Ulf Varg embarks on these lessons with spirit and good humour.

Alexander McCall Smith is a prolific writer of fiction, so The Department of Sensitive Crimes will be his 57th adult novel.

The Zimbabwe-born British author also has a slew of children’s fiction also published, as well as various short stories and even some academic texts.

Alexander McCall Smith’s The Department of Sensitive Crimes will kick off his new Detective Varg series on March 7th in the UK for the hardback, Audio and Kindle versions.

The paperback will be published on May 17th.

Meanwhile, watch McCall Smith at Appel Salon in Toronto a few years ago talking about writing, his first series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, and being an author. Surprising to some, he is exceptionally funny.


You can also find out more about him on Goodreads.

Related Reading: Jacqueline Winspear’s ‘The American Agent‘ to be published in March — it will be the 15th in the Maisie Dobbs series

Michelle Topham