A very enjoyable and leisurely crime story. Two people are murdered in the same fashion, most likely by the same person, there is no discernible link between the two victims. Chief Inspector Van Veeteren, on holiday nearby is sent to the small town to assist with the investigation. The local Chief of Police is happy to have the Van Veeteren join the investigation, he is due to retire and would like to have the case closed before he does. A third murder takes place, again apparently the same murder and no clear link to the other victims. The story swirls around quietly as the investigation tries to gain some focus on the crimes, the reveals are nicely done and paced, the finale is thoughtful and satisfying.
The title refers to an investigative theory propounded by an old policeman, that at a certain point in an investigation everything required to solve the cases is already known, a good investigator recognises this and uses good thinking to resolve the case. The story allows the information to accumulate carefully and nicely describes the struggle of the very well realised cast to make sense of what they are seeing.
The plot is well structured, the real pleasure of the book is the cast. They are are well rounded and come to life with armed with a pessimistic professionalism that is not cynical or bitter. This gives the book a low key tone which makes it very easy to read and allows the emotional context for the events to arise naturally and frames the conclusion to excellent effect. A very enjoyable read.