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Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander Mystery) [Mass Market Paperback]

Henning Mankell , Steven T. Murray
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Sep 2002
One frozen January Morning at 5 am, Inspector Wallander responds to what he expects is a routine call out. When he reaches the isolated farmhouse he discovers a bloodbath. An old man has been tortured and beaten to death, his wife lies barely alive beside his shattered body, victims of violence beyond reason. The woman supplies Wallander with his only clue: the perpetrators may have been foreign. When this is leaked to the press, racial hatred is unleashed. Kurt Wallander is a senior police officer at Ystad, a small town in the wind-lashed Swedish province of Skane. His life is a shambles. His wife has left him, his daughter refuses to speak to him, even his ageing father barely tolerates him. He works tirelessly, eats badly and drinks the nights away in a lonely, neglected flat. But now winter closes its grip on Ystad, and Wallander, his tenacious efforts closely monitored by the tough minded (and disarmingly attractive) district attorney Anette Brolin, must forget his trouble, and throw himself into a battle against time and xenophobia.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (5 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099445220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099445227
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Henning Mankell has become a worldwide phenomenon with his crime writing, gripping thrillers and atmospheric novels set in Africa. His prize-winning 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. www.henningmankell.co.uk

Product Description

Amazon Review

A new world had emerged, and he hadn't even noticed it. As a policeman, he still lived in another, older world. How was he going to learn to live with the new? . . We live as if we were in mourning for a lost paradise, he thought...

It could be said that as a policeman, Kurt Wallander, Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell's award winning creation, isn't much cop. He eschews the meticulous and the scientific in favour of his hunches, which all too often lead up blind alleys. He drinks too much, then drives. He doesn't get enough sleep. And to cap it all, his wife has left him and his daughter doesn't speak to him.

Faceless Killers is the first of the acclaimed Wallander novels. Set in January 1990, in a frozen landscape and against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Europe, this is a bleak novel that deals with the thorny issues of immigration and racial hatred. Wallander investigates a brutal double murder at a remote farmhouse in which the only possible clues are the whispered words of a dying woman and a freshly fed horse. When this limited evidence and its implications leak to the press it stirs right wing activists into action.

At times Wallander seems too much like the traditional hard-drinking, hard-living, hard-boiled detective of old, but he is more than that. He is a truth seeker, trying to make sense of his rapidly changing world, his method happens to be detective work, and it is this search that lies at the philosophical heart of the novel.

--Iain Robinson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


" An exquisite novel of mesmerizing depth and suspense." -- "Los Angeles Times"
" An especially satisfying crime novel, like those of such past masters as Georges Simenon, Nicholas Freeling, and Sweden's own Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo." - "The Wall Street Journal
" Intelligent, moving and topical, this is a thriller of the very best kind." - "The Times" (London)
" A well-crafted police procedural, the story moves along at a brisk pace and comes to an exciting climax." - "St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Good! 15 Dec 2008
By Dot
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Faceless Killers is the first book in the Inspector Wallander series by Henning Mankell. It is like no other crime novel that I have read. It is set in Sweden and this is integral to the book; Mankell is describing the deterioration of the Swedish culture throughout his story. Wallander is shocked at the violent murders that have taken place; in many other crime novels these would have seemed expected and run-of-the-mill almost.
Wallander as a character is a brilliant creation. In many ways he is the stereo-typical overweight, divorced police inspector. However, he is much more complex than that; you feel that his career has taken over his life yet he is still struggling to decide what life is all about and what he wants out of it. You get a real sense that he is not a detective that merely wants a result; he wants to try and understand why these brutal crimes are committed.
I will definitely read the other books in the series, Mankell really draws you in but the book is so much more than a mere page-turner
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it's that seedy Swedish bloke 2 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was no great work of literature, and possibly lost something in the translation, but I give it five stars because it did exactly what I wanted it to, which was to keep me amused on holiday. I've long been a fan of the Wallander TV series (not Kenneth Branagh - the proper one) so I was intrigued to know what the original books were like, and thought it wise to start with the first one just in case I then wanted to read the rest. This book lived up to its expectations, with Wallander and his colleagues struggling with their sometimes dreary and difficult private lives whilst at the same time trying to solve gruesome crimes. The atmosphere of the long Swedish winter is captured perfectly. The book has a map of Skane, the area of southern Sweden where it is set. (All good books should have maps; saves me the trouble of digging out my atlas, which I otherwise feel compelled to do.) I enjoyed this book very much, and hope to read more of them. Perfect for that long flight.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wallender - a human cop 23 Dec 2008
Having seen Kenneth Branagh play Wallender on TV, I was intrigued to see for myself the original source. I'm not disappointed. The character of Wallender is nicely developed as an 'every-man' -a middle-aged man trying to do a difficult job that wrecks relationships, (I'm an ex-cop, and know that this aspect of the job is all too common) while trying to cope with the changes in society that seem always to be for the worst. As for the 'coincidences and luck' that lead to the eventual capture of the killers - that's how it is in reality. Someone remembers something that they thought was trivial, and it leads to a conviction. Cops spend an awful lot of time going up blind alleys, chasing false leads. It's worth remembering that criminals don't want to be caught, and often succeed in evading the law. So, for other reviewers to criticise the luck element in the story is naive. Well worth a read, but don't expect James Ellroy or Kathy Reichs.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprise package 9 Feb 2007
By Scully Bloke VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was bought this book as a Christmas present. I had never heard of the author or the detective who is the main character.

However what an absolute delight. A real story about a detective in a small police force in Sweden. Normally he has to deal with petty crime so when a very violent double murder is uncovered our detective "Kurt Wallander" has a problem on his hands.

What is exceptionally good about this book is the development of the main character Wallander. His wife has left him, his father is on the start of suffering from dimentia and his daughter wont talk to him. This is story of a policeman working laboriously through what small clues there are, managing his private life, yet it is done with a very ydry humour through out the book.

Loved it
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great booko 9 May 2010
Excellent detective story. Mankel is a very good writer, and the translator seems to have done an excellent job as well. Gripping from start to finish, Mankel maintains the tension and keeps the pages turning with consumate ease. My first Wallender, and it certainly won't be the last
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76 of 83 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Familiar Story, Unfamiliar landscapes 25 Aug 2002
Faceless Killer is the first of the Kurt Wallander Novels by the Swedish crimewriter Henning Mankell. The book deals with the double murder of an elderly farmer and his wife in a brutal manner which apparently lacks motive. Subsequent investigation leads the hapless detective, Kurt Wallander, on a trail which brings him face to face with the issues surrounding european refugees, immigration and racism.
A suprisingly engaging read considering that the subject matter does not break new ground. The charcter of Wallander is all to familiar from the many other renderings of dishevelled and emotionally disfunctional detectives that we have become familiar with. The beauty of this book lies in its unique setting. Anybody with a passion or familiarity with Scandinavia and Sweden in particular will feel utterly satisfied with Mankell's rendering of the changing moods of the area.
Overall this is a nicely rendered story with a sadly all to familiar lead character and story line but set in a well described and unique setting for it's genre.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read 3 May 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Haven't watched the TV series so don't have any preconceived ideas as to what Wallander looks or acts like.
This story (although a little difficult to get a handle on the Swedish names)was a great read for me.
Wallander seems to be a tradional detective but gets lead away by his hunches which often are wrong.
Brutal murders, immigration and throw into the mix racial hatred and you have the makings of a very good plot which worked well.
Translation from Swedish to English does mean that the writing doesn't flow quite as well as it might have but this is only a minor criticism.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Brill
Good stuff yet again well enjoyed it
Published 8 days ago by Microman
4.0 out of 5 stars A gruelling read.
Wallander investigates a gruesome double murder which offers few leads initially so his team delve into the victims lives and create some. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Martin B
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling
Absolutely my kind of book. I enjoy murders and mysteries, so this was great. Kept me guessing all the time.
Published 2 months ago by J. C. CRONIN
5.0 out of 5 stars absaloutly brilliant
Brilliant couldn't put it down still reading at 3 in the morning can't wait to get on to my next book of his
Published 2 months ago by mrs
4.0 out of 5 stars A proper crime novel
I've just finished the Stieg Larsson trilogy and thought I would continue the Swedish motif.

glad I did, Mankell writes like Larsson, carefully with excellent attention... Read more
Published 2 months ago by keith gilchrist
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much substance
This author gets a lot of positive reviews. I couldn't make out whether the depth of the writing was lost in translation? Read more
Published 3 months ago by Daisy
5.0 out of 5 stars Never fails
Mankell just gets better and better. His characters have real depth. You feel you know them personally and want to know more.
Published 3 months ago by H. M. Powell
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
Having never read the Wallender books I had to start at the beginning. I quite enjoyed it though found certain words archaic and fanciful. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Steph
3.0 out of 5 stars The Erik Bloodaxe of Scandi-crime
Henning Mankell was the first Scandinavian crime author I became aware of, and due to this I still find his books the least pretentious of the Viking hoards that have pillaged the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Gill Kirk
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read and I have enjoyed the book
Easy book to read. A holiday read at night before going to bed.The story line there was a different twist
Published 6 months ago by Peter Kilian
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