The Man from Beijing

  • by Henning Mankell
  • Narrated by Rosalyn Landor
  • 15 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The acclaimed author of the Kurt Wallander mysteries, writing at the height of his powers, now gives us an electrifying stand-alone global thriller.
January 2006. In the Swedish hamlet of Hesjvallen, nineteen people have been massacred. The only clue is a red ribbon found at the scene.
Judge Birgitta Roslin has particular reason to be shocked: Her grandparents, the Andrns, are among the victims, and Birgitta soon learns that an Andrn family in Nevada has also been murdered. She then discovers the 19th-century diary of an Andrn ancestora gang master on the American transcontinental railwaythat describes brutal treatment of Chinese slave workers. The police insist that only a lunatic could have committed the Hesjvallen murders, but Birgitta is determined to uncover what she now suspects is a more complicated truth.
The investigation leads to the highest echelons of power in present-day Beijing, and to Zimbabwe and Mozambique. But the narrative also takes us back 150 years into the depths of the slave trade between China and the United Statesa history that will ensnare Birgitta as she draws ever closer to solving the Hesjvallen murders.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A new level of writing from Henning Mankell

Mankell is known for unhurried, almost real-time, procedurals. It's easy to see his detectives working on a case, drinking stale coffee in a bleak office somewhere in a small, bitterly cold city in Sweden. Everyone's always grabbing their jacket, but that's what would happen, isn't it? His juxtaposition of the bleak Nordic life and the horror of a violent crime is stark in a fantastic way. In some of his books, ONE STEP BEHIND and SIDETRACKED this style was absolutely brilliant. In other books I felt these same devices were overdone. I still can't say I disliked anything of his since I appreciate his writing. In THE MAN FROM BEIJING I think he has taken his writing to another level. I'm sure some purists will lament in the more upbeat tempo, but don't worry, he still takes his time. There is a lot of Chinese history, which I thought was very interesting and interwoven into the story well. His main protagonists are women, a detective, a judge-cum-sleuth, and a person of some indeterminate, but high rank in China. Mankell has always had strong women characters, and I'm glad to see him base a novel from a female perspective. As usual he has a lot to say about the world's state of affairs, with an emphasis on society and it's woes. (He doesn't take it to an Ayn Rand level, which I appreciate because there can only be one of her!) Here he takes a micro and a macro view. The underlying story is great, a bloody mass murder in a tiny Swedish hamlet, just so all you purists are happy! Of course I can find flaws, for example, the evil psychopath isn't empathetic enough Also, the plot gets a little wild at times, but I'm fine with these minor shortcomings since I'm finding the novel as a whole so entertaining. P.S., I'm only 3/4 way through, so I can't comment on the end!
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- G.

The Man From Beijing is a keeper

I have listened to all of Henning Mankell's novels and enjoyed every one of them. Kurt Wallander is one of my favorite sleuths. With this novel from 2006, however, he has outdone himself. Departing from his normal formula, The Man From Beijing takes us back to the 1860's in Nevada and to today's (2006) China. What a wonderful listen this book was. The characters, as always, are fully developed and seem real to me. The journey Mankell takes us on is interesting and informative and very suspenseful. I loved it.
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- Terry R. Mabry

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-16-2010
  • Publisher: Random House Audio