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The Man Who Smiled: Kurt Wallander [Hardcover]

Henning Mankell , Laurie Thompson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 2005 Kurt Wallander (Book 4)
Crestfallen, dejected and spiralling into an alcohol-fuelled depression after killing a man in the line of duty, Inspector Kurt Wallander has made up his mind to quit the police force for good. When an old acquaintance, a solicitor, seeks Wallander's help to investigate the suspicious circumstances in which his father has died, Kurt doesn't want to know. But when the solicitor also turns up dead, shot three times, Wallander realises that he was wrong not to listen. Against his better judgment, he returns to work to head what may now have become a double murder case. A rookie female detective has joined the force is his absence, and he adopts the role of mentor to her as they fight to unravel the mystery. An enigmatic big-business tycoon, who hides behind an entourage of brusque secretaries and tight security, seems to be the common denominator in the two deaths. But while Wallander is on the trail of the killer, somebody is on the trail of Wallander, and closing in fast. (2004-10-21)


Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Press; First Edition edition (1 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843430983
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843430988
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.4 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 290,049 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

Review

Rather in the way that Dire Straits were the Trojan horse that kickstarted the CD industry, Mankell's novels became the standard bearer for foreign crime in translation...the writer is a man of rare skills...Plotting here is as impeccable as ever... (Barry Forshaw Daily Express 2005-09-23)

'one of his best' (Times 2005-09-24)

Book Description

A disillusioned Inspector Kurt Wallander is thrown back into the fray when he becomes both hunter and hunted in this adventure from the pen of Sweden's master of crime and mystery. (2004-10-21)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
85 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man Who Smiled, Henning Mankell 15 Sep 2005
By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Mankell has become the author that every new European crime writer is compared to. He's the benchmark, he sets the standard. And justly so. His brand of intense, detail based procedural is probably unrivalled in its accurate picture of police-work. Certainly, I've never read a more compelling version of the hard, repetitive slug of investigation than his.
This novel is the final Wallander novel to be translated (even though we've already had the real "final" Wallander novel, and the first that features his daughter's induction to the police-force), though only the fourth that Mankell actually penned. Standing where it does in the series it is also possibly the first Great Wallander novel. The three which go before are good, but it it's with The Man Who Smiled that the series takes off. Readers new to Mankell now have the benefit of being able to read them in their proper order.
The Man Who Smiled opens with a disillusioned Wallander wandering day in day out along a misty Danish beach, riven with melancholy after killing a man in the line of duty (see the previous novel, The White Lioness). Only when he finally makes up his mind to retire does he return home to Ystad. However, when he gets there, disturbing news awaits him. An old friend of his, solicitor Sten Torstenson, has been killed in his office, shot three times. Wallander would think nothing of it - the official train of thought is some kind of break-in - but for the fact that Sten had tried to contact him while he was away. Sten was convinced that his father Gustav's death - his car overturned on a deserted, foggy road - was no accident. His father was a cautious driver, and would never have driven in fog. Too, in the weeks before his death Gustav seemed very worried about something he was keeping hidden from his son.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loses the plot 21 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback
This is a pretty good Wallander - well it is to start with then goes downhill.

The tension builds well from the start: Wallendar on extended sick leave is contacted in Denmark by a lawyer acquaintance who wants Wallander to look into what was worrying his father (recently killed in car accident). Then the lawyer is shot dead in his office, Wallander suspects that the car crash was no accident, a mine is planted in the garden of the lawyer's secretary, and even Wallander's car is booby-trapped.

What is going on? Well the finger seems to point to a reclusive mega-rich financier who lives nearby in a castle.

Then it starts to get silly. Despite knowing that there are ruthless mercenaries guarding the place Wallander sends in a stable girl as a sort of spy, and later persuades the security guard to spy as well. Even more ludicrous Wallander himself (unauthorised and alone) breaks in and attempts to do it all himself. Miraculously he survives somehow, and even manages to pursue the baddy to the airport and prevent him escaping.

Real Action Man stuff, not bad for an overweight 50ish man in poor health.

I vaguely remember the BBC version of this. They altered the story (of course) but for the better. It concentrated on the trade in body parts (only marginal in the book) and made the whole thing more coherent and credible.

Worth reading but prepare to be disappointed.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Henning Mankell - The Man Who Smiled 26 Feb 2006
By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Mankell has become the author that every new European crime writer is compared to. He's the benchmark, he sets the standard. And justly so. His brand of intense, detail based procedural is probably unrivalled in its accurate picture of police-work. Certainly, I've never read a more compelling version of the hard, repetitive slug of investigation than his.
This novel is the final Wallander novel to be translated (even though we've already had the real "final" Wallander novel, and the first that features his daughter's induction to the police-force), though only the fourth that Mankell actually penned. Standing where it does in the series it is also possibly the first Great Wallander novel. The three which go before are good, but it it's with The Man Who Smiled that the series takes off. Readers new to Mankell now have the benefit of being able to read them in their proper order.
The Man Who Smiled opens with a disillusioned Wallander wandering day in day out along a misty Danish beach, riven with melancholy after killing a man in the line of duty (see the previous novel, The White Lioness). Only when he finally makes up his mind to retire does he return home to Ystad. However, when he gets there, disturbing news awaits him. An old friend of his, solicitor Sten Torstenson, has been killed in his office, shot three times. Wallander would think nothing of it - the official train of thought is some kind of break-in - but for the fact that Sten had tried to contact him while he was away. Sten was convinced that his father Gustav's death - his car overturned on a deserted, foggy road - was no accident. His father was a cautious driver, and would never have driven in fog.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good enough but not even near his best 19 Feb 2006
Format:Paperback
Kurt Wallender is one of my favourite literary detectives and I really enjoy the gloomy Scandinavian world Henning Mankell evokes so effectively. I did have a couple of gripes about this one though - the first is not Mankell's fault - I really don't understand quite why his publishers have brought his titles out in the UK out of sequence. I'd just got used to Wallender's daughter having joined the force, and various other little bits of Wallender's life (finishing with Baiba, his father dying, etc) and suddenly we have a 'new' book that predates the action of the last one I read. OK, maybe this is a slightly nerdish complaint. But actually, my main gripe is that Mankell has stepped too far into the implausible. The main thrust of the action is that a very prominent, super-rich man is actually a multiple murderer. I'm not giving anything away here as this is made apparent at the very start of the book. BUT Mankell never really paints a psychologically convincing portrait of the villain - you really don't get much of a motive and the plot is awfully full of holes. Now I'm as fond of conspiracy theories as the next person - but the range of nefarious doings of this individual was just too bizarre and extreme for me, and certainly totally outlandish for remote Malmo. I ended up feeling quite irritated with the book by its end. Mind you - I still couldn't put it down.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
edge of the seat stuff
Published 6 days ago by Mrs J.S. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars The man who smiled.
This book was indeed a thriller which I found difficult to put down. Its varied strands leading to an exciting conclusion were very cleverly woven. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ms. E. Simpson
4.0 out of 5 stars this series just gets better
Have read the books in order and this was the best yet. The way the tension builds makes it a real page turner - but then I thought the ending seemed a little rushed - the final... Read more
Published 3 months ago by T. C. Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Mankell!
I have read about half the series. Am working my way through the editions that were delivered (thanks Amazon!) and am enjoying myself immensely.
Published 4 months ago by Laurie S. (Australia)
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
This product is exactly how I would expect it to be should I have bought it at a high street retailer, only cheaper and I didn't need to leave home to search for it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Thomas Crocker
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MAN WHO SMILED: KURT WALLENDER
loved the book it got me interested in the first few pages, which is always a bonus. Brilliantly written, a must to read.
Published 4 months ago by Mr K.F.Hawes
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good read
Another great story well told by Henning Mankell. So much better written than the Jo Nesbo books. I can recommend this one.
Published 7 months ago by Jane Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I am trying to complete all the Wallander series and this was up to usual standard. There were a few loose ends but still very good.
Published 8 months ago by Mr Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
all the wallander series are very good. More than a detective story. They are also about people and their feelings..
Published 8 months ago by keith atkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Henning Mankell at his best
Saw the first episode of this on TV and realised I hadn't read it already so downloaded it immediately. Read more
Published 10 months ago by SHEILA HASKETT
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