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Publisher's Summary

First in the Kurt Wallander mystery series. It was a crime of senseless violence. On a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse, an elderly farmer was bludgeoned to death, his wife left to die with a noose around her neck. As if this didn't present enough problems for Ystad police inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman's last word, his only tangible clue, were foreign. If publicized, they could be the match that would inflame Sweden's already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments.
With this case - unlike the situation with his ex-wife, his estranged daughter, or the young prosecutor who has piqued his interest - Wallander feels he has a problem he can handle. He quickly becomes obsessed with solving the crime before the already tense situation explodes, though it will require all of his talent to do so.
©1991 Henning Mankell, English translation 1997 Steven T. Murray (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"An exquisite novel of mesmerizing depth and suspense." (Los Angeles Times)
"Mankell's work mixes compelling procedural details with strong social consciousness....A superior novel and a harbinger of great things to come." (Booklist)
"[A] brilliant U.S. debut....The author goes well beyond the narrow police procedural in creating a full-bodied Wallender and in casting light on the refugee problem in contemporary Swedish society." (Library Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Joanna on 09-03-10

A new favorite detective series!

After listening to a more current Kurt Wallander mystery, I bought this with the intent to start this series from the beginning. I have been going through "Harry Bosch withdrawl" and Wallander has become a great addition as a very enjoyable detective series for me. I find Wallender different from Bosch; he is a little easier to relate to as a real person with real life issues and daily problems. He does not solve this crime brilliantly, but rather with hard work, capable help from his colleagues (which added even more interesting characters to get to know,) trial and error, but, of course, with a true talent as a detective.

The mystery was great, and had no "first book" feel to it. Some writers truly evolve in their writing skills, to the point that the earlier books are not as well written as the later ones, but none of that here. Menkell started with a bang! The plot was complex, interesting, and suspenseful. I really wanted to keep listening to it, even when I had to turn it off.

Unlike many detective mysteries, where the reader is introduced to potential killers in some fashion before the end of the book, Menkell kept us as much in the dark as to the killer(s)' identitiy as Wallander, which gave me the feeling that I was working right along with Wallander as to what to do next, and really brought me into the story.

I like Dick Hill, and I enjoyed him here. I prefer a narrator who puts some drama into the reading of a book, yet I did not think he went over the top. I found him very easy to listen to, and to also keep the voices of the characters distinct from one another. All-in-all it was very enjoyable, authentic, and I definitely plan to read more of the Wallander series.

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31 of 31 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Johnnie Walker on 02-07-10

Something About Swedish Fiction

Maybe it is the long winters, but there is nothing "uplifting" about any of the Swedish authors I have listened to. However, what they all have in common is a brutal reality. There are no super heros or fancy CSI solutions. Crime is solved by grinding it out and a little luck. In other words, it is real.

If you aare looking for fast paced drama or on-the-edge-of-your seat suspense, you are not going to like the Henning Mankell series offered at audible. However, if you like great character development and first rate writing, give them a try. The understated reading by Dick Hill is also perfect for the characters.

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27 of 27 people found this review helpful

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