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86 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great early Wallander
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...
Published on 27 Nov. 2008 by Mick Read

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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'someone rode into their hopeless lives and brought the sense of adventure' ***1/2 stars
'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...
Published on 13 Jan. 2009 by Purpleheart


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86 of 86 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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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Wallander's World, 11 April 2009
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This review is from: The Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries (Kurt Wallander Mystery) (Hardcover)
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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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kurt Wallander Stories, 6 Oct. 2008
By 
Simon Clarke (Hackney, London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Wallander's World, 11 April 2009
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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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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'someone rode into their hopeless lives and brought the sense of adventure' ***1/2 stars, 13 Jan. 2009
By 
Purpleheart (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
'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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this first, 1 Aug. 2010
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This was my introduction to Kurt Wallender and I literally could not put the book down. The Kurt Wallender novels were recommended by a member of the book group to which I belong, and while browsing Amazon to order one I came across this book. I thought it would make a good introduction to the character, focussing as it does on Wallender's early years. I was right. Don't be put off by the fact that these are described as short stories. They are, in fact, quite lengthy and the characters are very thoroughly developed, the investigations detailed and gripping and the character of Kurt Wallender leaps from the page. If you like your thrillers to be full of vivid, unnecessary unpleasantness then these stories will not be for you. There is unpleasantness here in the crimes and the reasons behind them but there is no graphic, gratuitous and explicit nastiness. Mankell does not need to stoop to these lengths to grip the reader from the first to the last page. If you like a thriller which is extremely well written and atmospheric both in terms of the crimes and the setting (Sweden at its darkest) then you have a treat in store. If you enjoy these stories as much as I did then you finish the book on a high, knowing that you have all the Kurt Wallender novels to look forward to.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One last delight, 10 Nov. 2009
By 
Ms. P. Hyde (UK) - See all my reviews
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Having read all the Kurt Wallander novels and knowing Mankell has said he's finished writing them, I was resigned to the fact that I would never experience that reading pleasure again. Imagine my delight on finding that there was this odd kind of prequel/sequel that I still hadn't read. I wasn't expecting much; I found Rankin's Rebus short stories disappointing and am not a big fan of the form anyway. However, this was an absolute delight, all the more so for being so unexpected. It reads like a single novel although it is a series of short stories chronologically back-filling Wallander's life and it has made me want to reread all the novels. If you've never read any of the Wallander novels, you could enjoy reading this first. I almost wish I had. The matter-of-fact, dry and ever so slightly melancholic tone is still there, just as it is in the later/earlier books but it's fun to meet Wallander when he's not worrying about his ageing body; don't worry, it's not long before gets into it and becomes recognisably Wallander. The key incidents were obviously in Mankell's mind as he was writing the other novels and they are all interesting and significant developmentally for his character. I rationed myself to try and drag it out but I've read it now and there really is no more; boo hoo.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Return of the Plotting Master, 17 Mar. 2010
By 
Quicksilver (UK) - See all my reviews
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It is a long time now since I read the final full-length Wallander novel. His long-term absence from my reading list has been a source of consternation. Yet I put off reading 'The Pyramid' because I'm not a great fan of short stories. I was also worried that these prequel tales would sully my memories of what had come before (or perhaps that should be after...?). My fears were misplaced.

Firstly, these short stories are still fairly long - the shortest weighs in at around fifty pages, and the title story is over 250 pages long; more a novella than a short story. Secondly, the stories are all very good, filling in the details of Wallander's journey up to the start of Faceless Killers.

The stories are not perfect. Some of the references to what is to come are laid on with a trowel. Mankell is the master of understatement, something I like about the Wallander novels. He normally leaves gaps for the reader to fill, but here spells everything out. The stories may not be perfect, but they are still excellent. Mankell offers vignettes of Sweden's changing society, showing a gradual decline into the chaos that Wallander will be forced to confront in the opening full-length novel. As I expected, I preferred the meatier stories, but I still enjoyed the shorter ones. These are less mysteries to be solved, and more glimpses of a fracturing society.

Once again, the reader is treated to detective fiction with a social conscience, and as ever, Mankell's moral compass is unerring. Wallander is once of the genre's finest creations, and 'The Pyramid' a worthy addition to his legacy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Start of Kurt Wallender's Police Career, 13 Aug. 2009
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This book filled in the missing 20 years and the incidents which made Kurt the person he became.It made fascinating reading, and, because each case was written as a separate chapter,it was not a collection of short stories which I would not have enjoyed.This is a must for lovers of Scandinavian thrillers !!I still find 'The White Lioness' as Mankell's best.
On a visit to my son in Sweden we followed a murder trail using the beginning of The White Lioness and found it great fun and Mankell is extremely accurate. Each time we go to Ystad we tend to look for Mankell villages
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joining up the dots., 16 Jun. 2009
By 
John S. McDonald (Norwich,England) - See all my reviews
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For regular readers of Henning Mankell this is a must...it creates a past for Wallander that is not given when "Faceless Killers" opens and cleverly links together other persons and events from his"life" in the spaces between the novels.Clever(perhaps a little commercially exploitative?) and readable..and themematically strong on Mankell's abiding sense of democratic Sweden's anxieties from the '90's onwards...can they maintain both a welfare state and democracy as the world around them impinges on Sweden and "home" becomes a more worrying and disturbing place.
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