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The Fifth Woman (Kurt Wallender Mystery) [Hardcover]

Henning Mankell
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug 2000 Kurt Wallender Mystery
Inspector Kurt Wallander is home from an idyllic holiday in Rome, full of energy and plans for the future. But when he investigates the disappearence of an elderly birdwatcher he discovers a gruesome and meticulously planned murder - a body impaled in a trap of sharpened bamboo poles. Then another man is reported missing. And once again Wallander's life is on hold as he and his team work tirelessly to find a link between the series of vicious murders. Forever battling to make sense of the violence of modern Sweden, Wallander leads a massive investigation to uncover a brutal killer.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 423 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press (Aug 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565845471
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565845473
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,300,290 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.

Product Description

Amazon Review

A series of men who seem to have nothing in common are brutally killed--one is impaled, another starved and then strangled. We know more than the police--we know that the killer is a woman and we gradually understand some of her motivation; her much wronged mother was murdered almost by chance in a North African country--but we don't know who she is, or, for a while at least, her motives and principles of selection of her victims. Inspector Wallender finds himself investigating the case--two missing person enquiries that turn into a murder hunt--and finds himself endlessly confused by red herrings and side issues; a set of leads concerning mercenaries in the Congo of the 1960s turn out to have little to do with the case and Wallender has to waste considerable time suppressing an attempt by the far Right to turn the murders into a reason to set up vigilante justice.The Fifth Woman is a stylish police procedural which lets us see not only the leg work of investigation but also the diligence which makes effective murder possible--the killer Wallender is trying to catch is at least as good at her job of murder as he is at his of prevention. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Sweden's lord of criminal misrule" (Independent)

"The novels become a compulsion - one reads them all" (Daily Telegraph)

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

"By far the best writer of police mysteries today" (Michael Ondaatje)

"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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fifth Woman is First Class 8 Dec 2002
Kurt Wallender, a Swedish detective, is faced with a race to find a serial killer before he or she strikes again. The first grisly murder is an elderly birdwatcher found impaled on bamboo sticks in a tiger pit, but for those of a sensitive disposition, the subsequent murders are not so gruesome.
We know the identity of the killer from the beginning but can Wallender find out before more people die? This tightly plotted novel shows the utter weariness and drudgery of the police search while keeping us gripped enough to keep turning the pages until 1am!!
Wallender's love life is on the back burner in this novel, but the death of his father provides the emotional subtheme. For those who aren't yet Wallender fans, you soon will be and for those coming back for more - you won't be disappointed, this is the best one yet.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very existential, very Swedish, very, very good 29 Sep 2001
The human, all too human, Inspector Kurt Wallander is thrown up against personal and professional challenges in this worthy addition to a sucessful series.
In the bleakness of a Skane autumn, beautifully evoked, a serial killer is murdering men with the utmost barbarity. Wallander and his team investigate against the backdrop of a changing Sweden where the old certanties and social cohesion have gone and an unsure future awaits. In addition Wallander faces the uncertainties and decisions of his own life. Mankell has created a post-modern investigator who in addition to solving a brutal series of killings and prevent more deaths, must also confront his own existential problems.
The story-telling is effective, the plot tight, the round of police investigation (99 % hard routine work, 1 % brilliant deduction) is superby recreated. Very effective, very existential, very Swedish and very very good. Highly recommended
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By Huck Flynn VINE VOICE
What a refreshing change to find a real person in charge of an investigation rather than the larger than life comic book creations too common in the staple American detective fiction. As plots go, Mankell's "Fifth Woman" is far fetched but what makes it so absorbing and believeable is the painstaking procedural plodding by Inspector Wallender's team. It builds up an incredible mountain of forensic and circumstantial evidence, dead ends and red herrings which for a long time seem to lead nowhere. To a certain extent the reader is a step ahead, seeing also from the killer's perspective, so part of the book's fascination is the tension we feel when the clues become tantalisingly close to revealing the identity. Kurt Wallender is certainly an engaging and sympathetic character whose intuitive leaps are generally credible because he also gets his hands dirty, makes mistakes and shows real human frailties. The book is relentlessly paced and indeed hard to put down at times. "Sidetracked" and "One Step behind" are equally good in the series, "Faceless Killers" a bit below par, and avoid "Dogs of Riga" which is more a far fetched spy thriller.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Though this be madness 20 Feb 2007
By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
yet there is method in 't." Hamlet: Act II, Scene 2.

Four nuns have been found brutally murdered in a convent in an unnamed North African country. A fifth woman has also been murdered. Although news of the murders is suppressed and the fifth woman is never publicly identified a policewoman with a conscience forwards letters found in her possession to her daughter in Sweden. Soon thereafter a series of seemingly unconnected and brutal murders grip the small, Southern-Swedish city of Ystad. The murders are well planned and executed. They seem designed to inflict as much pain as possible. Detective Inspect Kurt Wallander is tasked with identifying the killer or killers and the motive behind the killing. If Wallander cannot discover a motive he must at least learn enough about the killer's method to stop him or her before more people lay dead in strange surrounding. That is the plot of Henning Mankell's "The Fifth Woman".

"The Fifth Woman" is the sixth book in Mankell's Kurt Wallander series. This series is often compared to the Martin Beck detective mysteries authored by the husband and wife team of Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall. Wallander, like Beck, is a police detective in Sweden. Unlike Beck, whose beat was Stockholm, Wallander works in the small southern-Swedish city of Ystad. The Wallander series takes place in the 1990s while the Beck series took place in the 1960s and 1970s. Although I tend to prefer the Beck series, the Wallander books are entertaining page-turners. Mankell stays well within the `police procedural' formula and has not tried to reinvent the genre. However, he has done a good job, through the first books in the series, of developing the character of Mankell and his supporting cast of characters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These books are now like an old friend 23 Aug 2007
By Scully Bloke VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Firstly I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Its the 6th Kurt Wallender book and all of them have been very enjoyable. This one especially so.

It is best to read the books in sequence (see the previous review). That way you get to understand the mind of Wallender, why things get him down, weary, his thoughts on colleagues and friends. It also helps you realise why in this story Wallender at times becomes angry, stubborn and annoyed at vigilante groups springing up around the Ystad area.

I now consider these books like an old friend. You look forwad to seeing them, miss them when you are not reading them, like them even though the characters have their own flaws.

If you like an extremely well written police mystery then these books are for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Excellent book, I have read it in a few days and loved it from page one till the end
Published 4 days ago by Brontolo
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very interesting. An intriguing web but don't read too many Wallenders close together. They become a bit formulaeic,
Published 7 days ago by valerie crowdy
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
As ever Kurt mind is befuddled with life's debris. His car is broken and this seems to epitomize his life. Killer is a good yet sadly mentioned figure. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Steph
5.0 out of 5 stars GRIPPING
Although the introduction sort of gave the game away I still found it gripping and enjoyed the twists and turns.
Published 7 months ago by Celia A. Keech
4.0 out of 5 stars very good read
I am enjoying this very much well up to Mankell at his best. I am reading the whole series and this is one of the best.
Published 7 months ago by Mr Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
As always a good read from this author. Getting addicted. Hard to put down. One of the great crime writers of our time.
Published 8 months ago by Delia Heap
4.0 out of 5 stars Another thoughtful Wallander episode
As with all of the previous novels I have read, this unfolded with great attention to character, Wallander's mood and the backdrop of the landscape reflecting so much of the mood. Read more
Published 9 months ago by KH
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a holiday read
Ok. Nicely paced murder mystery. Certainly keeps you interested. Not sure that I believe that police officers blanche and sweat over a nasty murder - but basically a passable few... Read more
Published 10 months ago by IrishElk
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable page turner
Good who dunnit with characters I engaged with. Better writing than I expected, enough to make me look at his other titles
Published 10 months ago by Mrs. N. J. Richardsob
5.0 out of 5 stars Kurt Wallander
Really enjoyed this book but then I like his style and subject matter. Now continuing with the rest of the series.
Published 11 months ago by Barbieshots
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