The Return of the Dancing Master

  • by Henning Mankell
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • 13 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When retired policeman Herbert Molin is found brutally slaughtered on his remote farm in the northern forests of Sweden, police find strange tracks in the snow, as if someone had been practicing the tango. Stefan Lindman, a young police officer recently diagnosed with mouth cancer, decides to investigate the murder of his former colleague, but is soon enmeshed in a mystifying case with no witnesses and no apparent motives. Terrified of the disease that could take his life, Lindman becomes more and more reckless as he unearths the chilling links between Molin's death and an underground neo-Nazi network that runs further and deeper than he could ever have imagined.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good history, great writing

Although the Nazis called themselves National Socialists they were the opposite: fascists.
On the political spectrum fascists would be considered "extreme right", socialists "far left", and communists "extreme left". Mankell knows his history.

I love Mankell's novels precisely because of the dark Scandinavian mood. Kurt Wallander, the main character in many of his books, is a haunting portrait of a detective in his 50s who is questioning his life, his work, and the personal price it has extracted. He feels a duty to society to take on the difficult, exhausting, and grisly task of solving murders. He worries about what may be the breakdown of modern society and he is not sure his work has any measurable effect. His country is coping with major societal shifts resulting from the dissolution of the USSR, immigration, and globalization. His loneliness and depression are palpable yet he yearns for hope, meaning, and connection. I come away with a respect for the emotional honesty of a character that thinks and feels rather some two dimensional "shoot 'em up" type hero. I wonder about the people who tackle these issues in real life and what we ask of them.

Stefan Lindman, the protagonist in this book, is facing somewhat similar personal issues because of the possibility of death but he can bounce back more easily because of his relative youth. He has to grapple with evil, past and present, memory, retribution, and forgiveness. I find Wallander a more compelling character but I will take Mankell's writing however I can get it. Paradoxically, when I finish these books I feel rejuvenated and grateful for my life.

If you enjoy these books you may also like The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larsson.
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- Ann L Omae

Plodding. Ponderous. Heavy. Slow.

This book is about two murders. They happen in Sweden. The people have Swedish names. The places have Swedish names. One dog is gutted. Another disappears. One detective thinks. Another detective thinks. Mr. Gardner reads. People drive places. It is cold. An old man who dances with a doll dies. Another who plays the violin dies. Decades go by, while you are listening. You wait for something interesting to happen. It does not. There is an attempt to tell a story about the Nazi years. Some people are nice. Some are not. You have no desire to visit Sweden, if this is what it's like. They do make good cars. Mr. Mankell has written good books. This is not one of them. You might fall asleep while listening to this. You could sleep eight hours, wake up, and not have missed anything.
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- Richard Delman "I am a 67 year old psychologist. I have been married for 28 years, with two sons who are 27 and 24. I love listening to the books."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-15-2008
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.