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The Pyramid: Kurt Wallander [Paperback]

Henning Mankell , Ebba Segerberg , Laurie Thompson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 May 2009 Kurt Wallander (Book 9)

When Kurt Wallander first appeared in Faceless Killers back in 1990, he was a senior police officer, just turned forty, with his life in a mess. His wife had left him, his father barely acknowledged him; he ate badly and drank alone at night.

The Pyramid chronicles the events that led him to such a place. We see him in the early years, doing hours on the beat whilst trying to solve a murder off-duty; witness the beginnings of his fragile relationship with Mona, the woman he has his heart set on marrying; and learn the reason behind his difficulties with his father. These thrilling tales provide a fascinating insight into Wallander's character, and demand to be read in one sitting. From the stabbing of a neighbour in 1969 to a light aircraft accident in 1989, every story is a vital piece of the Wallander series, showing Mankell at the top of his game. Featuring an introduction from the author, The Pyramid is an essential read for all fans of Kurt Wallander.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (7 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099512971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099512974
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 166,147 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

When you spend a lot of time enthusiastically recommending a favourite writer to people unfamiliar with him, it's easy to acquire that cosy feeling that you're one of the initiated, spreading the word to those who aren't. For many, that used to be the case with Henning Mankell; crime aficionados who had discovered the Swedish master could hardly wait to extol the virtues of his wonderfully written novels -- and Mankell’s taciturn copper, Kurt Wallander. But the days when Mankell and his creation were known to just a privileged few are long over. There has already been an acclaimed television series made for the Scandinavian territories, and a major new English-speaking series beckons (starring Kenneth Branagh); even more fame is guaranteed for the writer and his detective.

So the time is probably right for The Pyramid, even though those of us who enjoyed putting out the word about Mankell will have to relinquish their proselytising role. Wallander first appeared in Faceless in 1991, when he was a senior police officer just out of his 30s and with his private life in chaos. The stories here describe his early years: the events, the people and the crimes that forged the man we first met in Faceless. We encounter Wallander as a beat cop attempting to crack a murder in his spare time; we follow him in his tentative first steps with Mona, the woman he has decided to marry (his wife, of course, had left him by the time of the events in that first book), and we are shown why his relationship with his father is quite so fractious. The elements that make the full length Wallander novels so successful are all here in microcosm: a cool, dispassionate treatment of crime, the understated evocation of the Scandinavian locales; and (best of all) the puzzling, fascinating character of the tenacious cop at the centre of the narrative.

Mankell fans may prefer the full-length novels (and not every piece here is vintage Mankell), but they will feel the need to catch up with the insights provided by these striking stories. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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

"The novel becomes a compulsion - one reads them all" (Daily Telegraph)

"The master of the long dark night" (Crime Time)

"An excellent collection" (New York Times)

"A triumph...Mankell's quiet specificity is mesmerising... They are surprising small masterpieces" (Heather O’Donoghue Times Literary Supplement)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
83 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great early Wallander 27 Nov 2008
It's not the bright sunny, northern summer days, it's the long, dark, dank, cold, sleepless, foggy nights, when Wallander is alone with his fears or in solitary pursuit of a psychotic killer, that creep off the page and take hold of you. At times, Mankell simply wraps us in evil atmosphere.

How did Kurt Wallander become the angry, insecure, single-minded investigator we first encountered in Faceless Killers?

Well, The Pyramid and its accompanying short stories finally give us some of that fascinating background. From Wallander's First Case, which shows him as a young beat copper trying to solve a murder in his off-duty hours, these stories track his early career in the latter part of the twentieth century. It must be difficult to backtrack with such an established character, but Mankell has done a good job of unravelling some of Wallander's ingrained traits and taking them back to their origins. We are treated to his early insecurity and confusion in his knife-edge relationships with Mona and his father. Meanwhile we see the development of his rigour and dogged determination to get to the root cause. If you listened to Wallander himself, you would believe he was the slowest, dumbest cop in the force but, of course, he is rising like cream to the top, although he may be closer to the truth when it comes to his personal relationships. These are thrilling stories.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Wallander's World 11 April 2009
By Scots Lass TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book contains 5 short stories involving the Swedish detective who was recently bought to our screens by the BBC with Kenneth Branagh in the lead role. in 'Wallander's First Case' the young policeman investigates the sudden death of a neighbour. 'The Man with the Mask' is a brilliant example of how a routine call can threaten to turn into a tragedy for a policeman as the now married Wallander walks into a seige situation. 'The Man on the Beach' finds the body of a tourist in the back of a taxi cab and Kurt and his team have to try to recreate the last known movements of the victim. 'The Death of the Photographer' has a seemingly unassuming local business man beaten to death in his studio with no clear motive available. Lastly, 'The Pyramid' sees a light aircraft crash and raises the suspicion of a drug run, whilst Wallander and his colleagues are shocked at the brutul death of two elderly sisters who ran a sewing shop.

Each story details the ordinary work the police do, running down evidence, interviewing friends and neighbours and painstakingly piecing together the reasons behind a crime. The stories are an excellent introduction to the full length novels by Henning Mankell and we get some background on Kurt, his wife (and eventually ex-wife Mona) and daughter Linda - as well as his difficult and demanding artist father whose grip on reality appears to be failing.

Hunt down a copy of this book - it will lead you straight on to the others in the series.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kurt Wallander Stories 6 Oct 2008
By Simon Clarke TOP 500 REVIEWER
These fascinating five stories portray stages in
Wallander's career and life prior to his appearance
in 'Faceless Killers'.We see him in Malmo as a keen raw
21 year old policeman in his first case with the
criminal investigation unit,and then in another case
after he has been made a detective.The last three stories
show Wallander after he has moved to Ystad and are Mankell
at his best.We learn about his colleagues who feature in the
subsequent novels ,and of Wallander's relationship with
his wife Mona,his father and his daughter Linda,and discover
the roots of his loneliness.
For Wallander fans these stories are a must read,but each
story stands on its own as a cracking good read.If this is the last we read of Wallander -we are left with a book to savour.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By purpleheart TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
'In the beginning everything was just a fog'.

The first story - Wallander's First Case - starts with him surfacing from the result of a knife attack. The last story - The Pyramid ends with the sentence 'It was still dark' as Wallander drives towards an horrible murder case and the start of the narrative of Faceless Killers, the first Wallander novel. Wallander's job as a criminal investigator, as written by Mankell, involves trying to find sense, some order from chaos and confusion, in the changing social landscape of Sweden.

Mankell says in his introduction that the subtitle to his eight novels about Wallander (this was before deciding to write about Linda Wallander) was 'Novels About the Swedish Anxiety'. He says the books have always been a variation on a single theme - 'What is happening to the Swedish welfare state in the 1990s? How will democracy survive if the foundation of the welfare state is no longer intact? Is the price of Swedish democracy too high and no longer worth paying?

This collection of five stories fills in the back story of Wallander and how he became the utterly exhausted, honourable workaholic we are familiar with from the novels. The stories improve the further we get into the book - the first two are pedestrian and probably only The Pyramid gives a taste of Mankell on full form. For Mankell fans they are a must read to fill in the references to the past.

For new readers, although this comes first chronologically, start with the novels.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wallander, who he is and how.
Having watched Wallander on television esp. the last series, if you have not read this collection already then do - it is a must - really putting Wallander into context and, for me... Read more
Published 1 day ago by P. R. Kline
5.0 out of 5 stars From small acorns - the making of Wallander
Having watched both the BBC and Swedish TV adaptations I was eager to read one of the novels on which they were based on. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Mr. Jn Pappas
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book.
Published 9 days ago by Pamela Batterham
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a nice prequel which includes stories and a short novel about...
As a fan of the TV drama, I wanted to delve deeper in the books. This is a nice prequel which includes stories and a short novel about Wallander's early career. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read.
As always, a great read.
Published 21 days ago by Lynne C Seymour
3.0 out of 5 stars The Pyramid: Kurt Wallander
I found this book less believable and therefore less interesting. The ending action was much too quick and disappointing to me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ms. E. Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the t.v. programme.
I really enjoyed this. I like the Swedish-language version of Wallander with subtitles, but the book is even better. If you liked Morse, read this. Its different, but as engaging. Read more
Published 2 months ago by bookworm8
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea
It's the first Wallander book I've read and I'm not too keen on the style of writing after being totally absorbed in the Jo Nesbo series. .
Published 3 months ago by Christine Whyatt
4.0 out of 5 stars Short stories
Don't usually like this format but was attracted by Walllender's early life. Pleasantly surprised to enjoy it-the style easy reading and dovetails nicely into the background of the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Diane V Spiewak
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
I'm a fan of this author and genre so my opinion may be biased but I love this book, the characters and the pace are just so riveting, a great story from a master story teller.
Published 3 months ago by paul merry
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