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Before The Frost
 
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Before The Frost [Kindle Edition]

Henning Mankell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

No longer is Henning Mankell a name known to just a privileged few. Before the Frost will have a readership far greater than his first European fans, those lucky enough to have encountered some of the finest modern crime writing from a Swedish master. His recent novel, Firewall, further developed the cool, utterly gripping style that had become his trademark: modern society and its eccentricities stripped bare, with Sweden ably standing in for the whole of western society. In that book, Mankell’s dogged copper Inspector Kurt Wallander investigated crime in cyberspace (as the country experienced electricity blackout), and anarchist cyber terrorists tested Wallander’s mettle. But Mankell was showing signs of wanting something new, and Before the Frost delivers that--in spades.

Linda Wallander--Kurt’s daughter--is cut from the same cloth as her resourceful father, and as a new detective character for Mankell, she’ll do very nicely, even if a certain amount of adjustment is needed on the reader’s part. In the dark forest near Ystad, a grisly find is made: human hands and a severed head, arranged in a grim mockery of prayer. A bible, seemingly heavily annotated by the killer is also found. But this is just one of series of bizarre incidents that have been taxing inspector Kurt Wallander: including domestic pets being attacked. Not a good time, in fact, for Wallander’s daughter Linda to make her debut as another detective on the force. But (needless to say) she soon gives her father a run for his money in identifying the criminals involved--a sinister group with biblical punishments on their unflinching agenda.

While Linda has some way to go to make herself as beloved a protagonist as her father, the auguries here are very promising, with plotting compensating for the gearshifts involved.--Barry Forshaw

Amazon Review

No longer is Henning Mankell a name known to just a privileged few. Before the Frost will have a readership far greater than his first European fans, those lucky enough to have encountered some of the finest modern crime writing from a Swedish master. His recent novel, Firewall, further developed the cool, utterly gripping style that had become his trademark: modern society and its eccentricities stripped bare, with Sweden ably standing in for the whole of western society. In that book, Mankell’s dogged copper Inspector Kurt Wallander investigated crime in cyberspace (as the country experienced electricity blackout), and anarchist cyber terrorists tested Wallander’s mettle. But Mankell was showing signs of wanting something new, and Before the Frost delivers that--in spades.

Linda Wallander--Kurt’s daughter--is cut from the same cloth as her resourceful father, and as a new detective character for Mankell, she’ll do very nicely, even if a certain amount of adjustment is needed on the reader’s part. In the dark forest near Ystad, a grisly find is made: human hands and a severed head, arranged in a grim mockery of prayer. A bible, seemingly heavily annotated by the killer is also found. But this is just one of series of bizarre incidents that have been taxing inspector Kurt Wallander: including domestic pets being attacked. Not a good time, in fact, for Wallander’s daughter Linda to make her debut as another detective on the force. But (needless to say) she soon gives her father a run for his money in identifying the criminals involved--a sinister group with biblical punishments on their unflinching agenda.

While Linda has some way to go to make herself as beloved a protagonist as her father, the auguries here are very promising, with plotting compensating for the gearshifts involved.--Barry Forshaw

Review

"Mankell is one of the most ingenious crime writers around. Highly recommended" (Observer)

"The real test of thrillers of this kind is whether you want to spend more time in the detective's company. I certainly do" (Sean French Independent)

"Mankell is a powerful writer" (Independent)

"Absorbing, chilling and dripping with evil atmosphere" (The Times)

"Sweden's lord of criminal misrule at the top of his grimly engrossing game" (Boyd Tonkin Independent)

Michael Ondaatje

'Mankell is by far the best writer of police mysteries today'

Book Description

'Mankell is by far the best writer of police mysteries today' Michael Ondaatje

Product Description

The leader of a religious cult in Guyana instigates a mass suicide. He succeeds in killing himself and his whole flock of worshippers, save one.



In a wood outside Ystad, the police make an horrific discovery: a severed head, and hands locked together in an attitude of prayer. A Bible lies at the victim's side, handwritten corrections and amendments on every page.



A string of incidents, including attacks on domestic animals, has been taking place and Inspector Wallander fears that these events could be the prelude to attacks on humans on a much greater scale. Meanwhile Linda Wallander, preparing to join the Ystad police force, arrives at the station. Showing all the hallmarks of her father - the maverick approach, the flaring temper - she becomes involved in the case and in the process is forced to confront a group of extremists bent on punishing the world's sinners.

Synopsis

In woodland outside Ystad, the police make a horrific discovery: a severed head, and hands locked together in an attitude of prayer. A Bible lies at the victim's side, the pages marked with scribbled corrections. A string of macabre incidents, including attacks on domestic animals, have been taking place, and Inspector Wallander fears that these disturbances could be the prelude to attacks on humans on an even more alarming scale. Linda Wallander, in preparation to join the police force, arrives at Ystad. Exhibiting some of the hallmarks of her father - the maverick approach, the flaring temper - she becomes entangled in a case involving a group of religious extremists who are bent on punishing the world's sinners. Following on from the enormous success of the 'Kurt Wallander' mysteries, Henning Mankell has begun an outstanding new chapter in crime writing.

From the Publisher

After the enormous and steadily increasing success of the Kurt Wallander series, Henning Mankell begins a new chapter: as Kurt prepares for retirement his daughter Linda prepares to join the Ystad police force and becomes an immediate star in her own right.

From the Back Cover

'Probably Britain's favourite European mystery writer... Mankell's subtle use of his characters keeps you reading' Daily Mail

'With this book his fans are in for a double treat as Mankell gives us two Wallanders for the price of one... Crime fiction doesn't get any better than this' Mail on Sunday

The leader of a religious cult in Guyana instigates a mass suicide. He succeeds in killing himself and his whole flock of worshippers, save one.

In a wood outside Ystad, the police make an horrific discovery: a severed head, and hands locked together in an attitude of prayer. A Bible lies at the victim's side, handwritten corrections and amendments on every page.

A string of incidents, including attacks on domestic animals, has been taking place and Inspector Wallander fears that these events could be the prelude to attacks on humans on a much greater scale. Meanwhile Linda Wallander, preparing to join the Ystad police force, arrives at the station. Showing all the hallmarks of her father - the maverick approach, the flaring temper - she becomes involved in the case and in the process is forced to confront a group of extremists bent on punishing the world's sinners.

'This novel will not disappoint Kurt's followers. He remains integral, and his guilt-shot relationship to his daughter is beautifully done' Independent

'The Nordic King of European thriller writers' Louise France, Observer

About the Author

Henning Mankell has become a worldwide phenomenon with his crime writing, gripping thrillers and atmospheric novels set in Africa. His prizewinning and critically acclaimed Inspector Wallander Mysteries are currently dominating bestseller lists all over the globe. His books have been translated into over forty languages and made into numerous international film and television adaptations: most recently the BAFTA-award-winning BBC television series Wallander, starring Kenneth Branagh. Mankell devotes much of his free time to working with Aids charities in Africa, where he is also director of the Teatro Avenida in Maputo. In 2008, the University of St Andrews conferred Henning Mankell with an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in recognition of his major contribution to literature and to the practical exercise of conscience.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CHAPTER 1

The wind picked up shortly after 9.00 on the evening of August 21, 2001. In a valley to the south of the Rommele Hills, small waves were rippling across the surface of Marebo Lake. The man waiting in the shadows beside the water stretched out his hand to discover the direction of the wind. Virtually due south, he found to his satisfaction. He had chosen the right spot to put out food to attract the creatures he would soon be sacrificing.

He sat on the rock where he had spread out a sweater against the chill. It was a new moon and no light penetrated the thick layer of clouds. Dark enough for catching eels. That’s what my Swedish playmate used to say when I was growing up. The eels start their migration in August. That’s when they bump into the fishermen’s traps and wander the length of the trap. And then the trap slams shut.

His ears, always alert, picked up the sound of a car passing some distance away. Apart from that there was nothing. He took out his torch and directed the beam over the shoreline and water. He could tell that they were approaching. He spotted at least two white patches against the dark water. Soon there would be more.

He switched off the light and tested his mind – exactingly trained – by thinking of the time. Three minutes past nine, he thought. Then he raised his wrist and checked the display. Three minutes past nine – he was right, of course. In another 30 minutes it would all be over. He had learned that humans were not alone in their need for regularity. Wild creatures could even be taught to respect time. It had taken him three months of patience and deliberation to prepare for tonight’s sacrifice. He had made himself their friend.

He switched on the torch again. There were more white patches, and they were coming nearer to the shore. Briefly he lit up the tempting meal of broken bread crusts that he had set out on the ground, as well as the two petrol containers. He switched off the light and waited.

When the time came, he did exactly as he had planned. The swans had reached the shore and were pecking at the pieces of bread he had put out for them, oblivious of his presence or by now simply used to him. He set the torch aside and put on his night-vision goggles. There were six swans, three couples. Two were lying down while the rest were cleaning their feathers or still searching for bread.

Now. He got up, took a can in each hand and splashed the swans with petrol. Before they had a chance to fly away, he spread what remained in each of the cans and set light to a clump of dried grass among the swans. The burning petrol caught one swan and then all of them. In their agony, their wings on fire, they tried to fly away over the lake, but one by one plunged into the water like fireballs. He tried to fix the sight and sound of them in his memory; both the burning, screeching birds in the air and the image of hissing, smoking wings as they crashed into the lake. Their dying screams sound like broken trumpets, he thought. That’s how I will remember them.

The whole thing was over in less than a minute.He was very pleased. It had gone according to plan, an auspicious beginning for what was to come.

He tossed the petrol cans into the water, tucked his jumper into the backpack and shone the torch around the place to be sure he had left nothing behind. When he was convinced he had remembered everything, he took a mobile phone from his coat pocket. He had bought the phone in Copenhagen a few days before.

When someone answered, he asked to be connected to the police. The conversation was brief. Then he threw the phone into the lake, put on his backpack and walked away into the night.

The wind was blowing from the east now and was growing stronger.

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