Title: The Troubled Man
Authors: Henning Mankell
Review: Stieg Larrsson intended his Lisbeth Salander books originally as a 10 book series, but of course as we all know shortly after completing the first three and turning them in to be published he died suddenly. Now before I read them I saw a short posts on Sarah Weinman’s old blog about how popular Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander series was (and how she was unable to get into them). Now I was really getting into mysteries and was always on the look out for a new writer to try so Sarah’s opinion aside I checked out one from my local library. That is where my love of all things Nordic Noir was born and I have enjoyed the ride ever since. I hope people sampling this style of mystery will expand their horizons after exhausting the three Lisbeth books, because they will me missing out if they don’t.
The Troubled Man is the tenth and final Kurt Wallander book, the story of a small town Swedish police investigator and the crimes of opportunity/passion that haunt his life. The action is very real, as opposed the over the top criminals found in a lot of mainstream American crime novels. Typically someone is just looking to cover up their stupidity and get entangled in the web of lies needed to maintain the cover-up. Wallander methodically keeps digging into the crime to eventually piece the fragments of truth he uncovers, slowly bringing the case to light.
As Wallander reaches the end of his career his policewoman daughter is having a baby and he gets to meet the other grandparents. His opposite is a retired submarine commander who seems very troubled (not just a clever title). On an afternoon walk he just disappears into thin air and Wallander decides to look into it as a favor for his daughter. Struggling with memory loss and old age Wallander manages to dig out a series of lies and cover-ups to eventually uncover a conspiracy on a grand scale.
This book could be read by itself, but the emotional reward that comes from reading the capstone of a magnificent series without any of the foundation would be missed; and that would be a real tragedy. If you want to try Mankell then I highly recommend his latest stand-alone mystery The Man from Beijing.
These books have been made into three different TV series, 2 in Sweden and the third was done by the BBC with Kenneth Branagh in the lead.
Copyright: 2009 (translated 2011)
Quick Review: 5 Stars out of 5.
Why I Read it: One of my all-time favorite authors.
Where I Obtained the Book: At the library.
Synopsis: The much-anticipated return of Henning Mankell's brilliant, brooding detective Kurt Wallander. Hakan von Enke, a retired naval officer, disappears during a walk in a forest near Stockholm. Wallander is not officially involved in the investigation, but he is personally affected--von Enke is his daughter's father-in-law--and Wallander is soon interfering in matters that are not his responsibility. He is confounded by the information he uncovers, which hints at elaborate Cold War espionage. Wallander is also haunted by his own past and desperate to live up to the hope that a new granddaughter represents, and will soon come face-to-face with his most intractable adversary--himself. Suspenseful, darkly atmospheric, psychologically gripping, "The Troubled Man" is certain to be celebrated by readers and critics alike.
Henning Mankell was born in Stockholm, Sweden on February 3, 1948. After his mother left, he was raised by his father who encouraged his children to read. He left secondary school at the age of 16 due to boredom and worked as a merchant seaman. While working as a stagehand, he wrote his first play, The Amusement Park. In 1972, his first novel, The Stone Blaster, was released. His other works include The Prison Colony that Disappeared, Daisy Sisters, The Eye of the Leopard, Secrets in the Fire, The Chronicler of the Wind, and Depths. He also writes the Kurt Wallander series and the Joel Gustafson Stories series. A Bridge to the Stars won the prestigious Rabén and Sjögren award for best children's book of the year. He divides his time between writing novels and directing plays at various theatres. He is also committed to the fight against AIDS and devotes much of his spare time to his "memory books" project, where parents dying from AIDS are encouraged to record their life stories in words and pictures. In 2003, he published I Die, But My Memory Lives On.