Monday, September 12, 2011

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

Swedish detective stories are hot and Henning Mankell is one of the best. Faceless Killers (English translation 1997) is the first outing for Detective Wallanger.

Length: 8h 57m; Grade 4
Audio publisher: Blackstone Audio, 2006

Detective Kurt Wallanger is acting Chief of Police in the small town of Ystad, on the extreme southern coast of Sweden. I liked the back-to-the basics detective work in this book. The story concentrates on the mystery and refreshingly stays away from politics or conspiracies. Wallanger isn't the world's best detective by a long shot, but he's tenacious, and his police department, though mostly incompetent, works together as a team. I liked the dry humor of the book. At one point they're after a "foreign" suspect, so they start looking for Danes and Finns. I also learned about the geography of Sweden. I didn't know you could take a ferry from Sweden to Germany. Wallanger's home life is less sympathetic. I was actively put off by his efforts at romance. The isolation and monotony of small-town Sweden is clearly displayed as everyone's primary occupation is wondering when it will snow.

Reading - Dick Hill lends a gravity and weariness to the reading that really fits Wallangar's character. Fortunately, most of the book focuses on Wallanger since the other police detectives don't come off as well. Instead of distinct voices, they have strange speech impediments.

More - Mankell's books have been adapted a BBC TV series with Faceless Killers an episode in season 2.

I also enjoyed the Scandinavia detectives Inspector Van Veeteren in Mind's Eye by Haken Nesser and Harry Hole in The Snowman by Jo Nesbo.

No comments:

Post a Comment