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4.2 out of 5 stars148
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 19 December 2014
Like most fictional stories you can always pick a few areas that take even the imagination shown by the author a little hard for the reader to comprehend; but never the less, I enjoyed the book and will read further books from this author.
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This is another must for all lovers of well written crime thrillers, from the pen of Henning Mankell and starring Kurt Wallander, one of the best detectives created in recent times.

This is a complex tale. Almost two books in one, it tells the tale of an assassination plot in South Africa, with tendrils reaching as far as Sweden. Mankell alternates sections of the two distinct tales, the story of the plot and investigation in South Africa and the investigation by Wallander of a seemingly motiveless murder, bringing the two together and tying up the whole thing satisfactorily in the last few pages.

As with the predecessor, the excellent `Dogs Of Riga', this book tackles some weighty political and moral issues head on. Centred around the fall of apartheid and white rule in South Africa it shows the regime for what it was. He describes the lives of ordinary people, showing their preconceptions and ability to not see the truth in almost forensic detail. This section of the book is a fascinating, well researched and well written account of the period, and the moral and ethical issues arising from the situation.

The thriller component of the book is mainly contained in the Swedish strand, with Wallander's hunt for the murderer and the personal implications as the killer turns his attentions on Wallander and his family. As usual with Mankell, this is a well written and pacey bit of crime fiction, not afraid to show the mundane procedures that form an important part of any real life investigation. Things really hot up when Wallander gets on the trail of the killer, and he must push the boundaries of his abilities and moral code in order to see justice served.

Another tense, atmospheric book from Mankell. All the characters are well written, with distinctive voices. The motivations of all are considered, with some interesting studies of human nature. Don't be put off by the nearly 600 pg length, the book draws you in and after a few pages you find yourself totally immersed in it and unable to put it down. Mankell is a top notch writer and holds your attention right to the last page. An excellent read, essential to all those who enjoy thoughtful crime thrillers with a moody atmosphere and a moral lesson (but not one which is rammed down the throat). Five stars, no hesitation.
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on 23 January 2015
A thrilling tale of the end of apartheid in Africa and the threat to its future president, interwoven with dark deeds in Sweden
featuring Russian mafia and Zulu hitmen. A real rollercoaster ride!
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VINE VOICEon 22 January 2014
I'm reading all of these books in the wrong order, but that doesn't matter. Each Wallander novel stands on its own, and if you want to read this one without having read any of the others, that's OK. They are all good, but this is one of the better ones. A lot of words are devoted to Wallander, his personality and his relationships with friends, family and colleagues. We feel that we get to know him intimately, which means that the terrible experiences he goes through have all the more impact. This novel concerns a series of gruesome murders in Sweden and their links with an attempt on the life of Nelson Mandela, which is of course thwarted with Wallander's help. As usual, I felt that the passages set in Sweden were the stronger parts of the book, though Mankell clearly has an interest in Africa and writes with some authority about it. The book is set in the period between Mandela's release from prison and his first election as president of South Africa. I read it shortly after his death, which lent it some added interest for me. Highly recommended.
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on 26 October 2013
Love all of the Wallander books. There is always a little story going on in his personal life which I like. He talks about the weather and what he has and has not eaten along with the countryside in Sweden and always the weather. I feel as if I know him!
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on 2 March 2015
Some good lines in this novel! All the familiar faces are here - and Wallander is in mental torment as ever. Just how we like him.

Regular fans be warned however. A lot of the action takes place away from the world of our man. Chunks of it in fact which is a bit annoying. Mankell uses the device of telling the story from several points of view so we are not inside Kurt's head all the time.

It's a bit dated now of course but it's possible to imagine the chaos that would have ensued had such a plot succeeded. In the end the thing is all wrapped up in a Day of the Jackal type way - only not quite as nail-biting.
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on 9 January 2014
This is part of the Wallander series, of which there are at least 3 TV seasons now. It is well written and an excellent example of a gritty scandinavian crime thriller. recommended and best read in sequence.
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on 16 January 2015
Yes Henning does it again. His writing always keeps me captivated. My own abhorrence of apartheid kept me particularly interested in this novel as well as Mankell's ability to bring so many different dynamics and cultural references into the mix.
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on 5 August 2003
'The White Lioness' is the sixth of Mankell's novels to be published in the UK, and the third, chronologically, to feature the uniquely appealing Kurt Wallander. Those who have already had the pleasure of reading 'Faceless Killers' or 'The Dogs of Riga' will not be disappointed: Wallander comes to life as vividly here as he did there. Echoing 'The Dogs of Riga', Wallander is placed in a plot which spans continents, involving both intuitive police-work and emotional turmoil. But unlike 'The Dogs of Riga', Wallander is always at a remove from events as he investigates an apparently motiveless murder in Sweden.
The only disappointment is that the ever-suffering Swedish detective is not in the novel more - much of the narrative concerns events in South Africa which although excellently written are never quite as compelling as the sections featuring the astute investigations of Wallander and his colleagues. However, there is still much here to recommend - great pacing, a blisteringly gripping conclusion, and a central character and location (southern Sweden) as richly textured as any you'll find in a contemporary novel, whether translated or otherwise.
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on 7 February 2012
After the underwhelming Dogs of Riga I was hoping for a big fat Swedish murder investigation this time. The White Lioness is a far superior animal by far but it's also not entirely that big fat dose of Wallander I wanted. Written just before South Africa would throw away the worst of its horrific identity, Mankell once again writes a book that is so very rooted in the time of its writing - here the early 90s leading up to the eventual free elections in 1994. The first segment of the book is excellent. Wallander is still not quite on an even keel after his ordeal in Latvia. He throws himself into the mystery of a missing woman. A woman with no reason to disappear.
My biggest problem with this book is the way this promising opening is just cut off in mid flow. We turn a page and leave Wallander behind. For a chapter we think. Well maybe two chapters. Any time now. 50 pages. Can't be long now. 80 pages. Please. 100 pages... you've got to be kidding me!!! Don't get me wrong. The narrative here is still excellently written and Mankell gives us a very creditable, though Swedish filtered attempt at showing Afrikaner society through the eyes of de Klerk, the secret service and a shadowy organisation dedicated to preserving apartheid by assassinating Mandela. Is it Wallander meets The Day of the Jackal? Oh very definitely, though the assassins here aren't really in the Jackal's class, though why they decide to train in Sweden is beyond me. Any half decent assassin would probably conduct his preparations in a neighbouring country.
Eventually the action returns back to Sweden and the book starts to burn again. Wallander skips the rails even more spectacularly than usual, which gives Svedberg an opportunity to step out of the shadows thrown by Mankel's previously sketchy characterisation, joining the very small cast of fully drawn players.
From a political standpoint the book has become a bit of curiosity, a set of Swedish tinged views on a long dead social system, separated by a couple of decades from today's contemporary incarnation. As a thriller and a detective story the book does eventually redeem itself, though the way the two threads are woven together could have been much better.
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