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The Dogs of Riga Paperback – 5 Sep 2002

113 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: The Harvill Press; New edition edition (5 Sept. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860469590
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860469596
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 2.2 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 482,819 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


"Kurt Wallander has touches of Dexter's Inspector Morse about him, while remaining an original and highly likeable creation" Marcel Berlins, The Times; "It is not hard to see why the Wallander books have made a particular impact. They are tightly plotted, but even more importantly, as in most good crime fiction, the character of the detective and the atmosphere surrounding the action are what give that extra edge to the performance" Hugh Macpherson, TLS

Book Description

'Wallander's investigations are perfectly judged to create a thrilling mood of growing tension culminating in a satisying climax' - The Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 8 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the second of Henning Mankell's novels featuring Swedish Detective Kurt Wallander. Two mysterious bodies are washed up on a deserted Swedish beach. The trail leads to pre Soviet collapse Latvia, and a deep conspiracy in the paranoid world of a police state of which Wallander has no comprehension. Taking his investigation to Riga, he is like a fish out of water, trying to find the truth in a world of lies. On his own in a strange world, I was reminded of the atmosphere of a Le Carre novel, such as `The Spy Who Came In From The Cold'. There is a sense of paranoia running through the book, with Wallander unable to trust anyone while completely in the dark about what it is that he is actually involved in.

Mankell is a fine writer on many counts. He manages to construct clever plots and believable mysteries, showing the police procedural side with fascinating detail. Kurt Wallander is a well written protagonist, with many personal flaws and a difficult private life. In the hands of other writers these might seem like annoying characteristics brought in solely to make the character interesting, but as written by Mankell they seem just right. Finally, Mankell writes with a great feeling for atmosphere. He contrasts the free and open Sweden with the dark and paranoid Riga with consummate ease. There is a sense of moodiness in the books, a dark, heavy feeling which pervades every page, you feel as though you are suffocating under it, then every now and then there is a breath of fresh air, you take a gulp then dive back into the dark and murky world.

I loved this book, a great read that really made me think, educated me and, most of all, entertained me with a gripping tale. Highly recommended!
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By "scribeoflight" on 9 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
Of the two 'Kurt Wallander' novels I have read, 'The Dogs of Riga' is the weaker: 'Faceless Killers' has a more compelling plot, and a more interesting narrative. However, 'The Dogs of Riga' is still a very good book. The ending is slightly cluttered, with Mankell pushing credibility a little, but the novel as a whole is an excellent portrait of a determined Swedish Police detective who happens to be a little unlucky and a little unhealthy.
'The Dogs of Riga' is basically a Police Procedural detective novel and a no-details-ignored, everything-included study of a middle-aged man going through a variety of problems, whether they be medical, personal, or career-related. We may not aspire to be like Wallander in all respects, but the character earns the respect, admiration, and - at times - symphathy of the reader. Mankell weaves the most mundane details of Wallander's life and police investigations into a narrative which is always compelling. And he is astute not only with regard to character: there is a superb sense of geographical place, time, and politics in these novels. And this sense is nuanced, and not in any way simplistic. If anything, Mankell paints the world in too realistic a way: it is so plausible and real that reading about certain aspects of it can be depressing.
Recommended, although 'Faceless Killers' is the first novel, in terms of Wallander's chronology. After reading 'Faceless Killers' and 'The Dogs of Riga', read 'Sidetracked' and 'The Fifth Woman', in that order.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. S. Partridge on 5 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have just read this in one long run during a very long day of train journeys. I found it absolutely riveting. I love the fact that Wallander is an ordinary, imperfect man. He tries to do the right thing but doesn't always manage it. As the story progresses we can see him become more and more mentally and physically exhausted. When he gets too tired he drinks too much and almost mucks things up, pulling things back at the last moment. The setting in Latvia-with its atmosphere of menace and not being able to fully trust anyone is fascinating.It doesn't matter that the Iron Curtain has come down-there are still plenty of countries like this around. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bluebell TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've only recently discovered this splendid Wallander series of books and have been reading them out of chronological order so some of the consequences of this story were revealed in a book I'd already read The Man Who Smiled but this didn't spoil my enjoyment of an exciting narrative. Henning Mankell has created an interesting and complex man in Wallander and has so far avoided his stories falling into a predictable pattern other than that there's usually a paging-turning climax in which Wallander is pitted against the baddies and often as not he is operating outwith accepted police-protocol. As with the The White Lioness much of The Dogs of Riga, as the title implies, is set out of Sweden and, although there is a crime at the centre of the latter book, it is more a thriller than a detective story with Wallander acting unofficially in Latvia trying to sort out a covered-up murder that he no longer has authority to investigate and so is completely out on a limb and vulnerable. It's a very atmospheric book and gets over the claustrophobic and soul-destroying life for ordinary people in a totalitarian state.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Booksthatmatter on 27 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
I was surprised by a previous reviewer's comment that they found Dogs of Riga unengaging - I found it totally compelling. I do think that there are production glitches - sloppy editorial work on Vintage's part which seriously interfere with the readability of the book - but that aside Wallender is a very engaging, somewhat Rebus-esque hero. In this volume he finds himself sucked almost powerlessly into the decaying world of the collapsing Communist regime of Latvia. I enjoyed Faceless Killers, the previous volume, but I think Dogs of Riga is a dramatic step up in terms of sophistication. You can feel the author inhabiting Wallender's skin more fully with every page. Excellent stuff, I say!
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