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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a normal detective story
I was impressed by this book, though it took me a while to get into. There are numerous shifts of character, place and time, from 21st century Sweden, where the (first) crime takes place, to 19th century China, USA in the 1860s, modern China and even Africa.

At the start it looks as though this is going to be a "normal" detective story (I hadn't read any...
Published on 29 Jan 2010 by D. Harris

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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great!
Henning Mankell is a favourite author of mine. In particular I do like the Wallander series but he does write other very good books as well! That said, I was disappointed by "The Man from Beijing". Of course it is well written (and translated) but there were too many loose ends for my liking. As a work of fiction the reader is required to suspend some element of...
Published on 27 Mar 2010 by A. S. Thompson


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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit slow, 6 Aug 2012
By 
Johannsen "Krister" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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So much of this story is taken up with the history leading to the subsequent events. I found it a bit tedious and not what I expected from Mankell. It never really gained momentum and just seemed to fizzle out. The only Mankell story I have not enjoyed.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Enormously disappointing., 24 July 2012
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This review is from: The Man From Beijing (Paperback)
I had never read any of Mankell's books, so I thought I might be in for a treat. But what a hotch-potch of an implausible plot, with so many red-herrings that one could spend hours trying to make sense of them. And the ending lived up to the rest of the book, with the "villain" being shot through a plate-glass window whilst in the act of putting poison in the heroine's drink. I can't see myself picking up any more of this author's books in a hurry.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual but interesting thriller, 22 Jun 2012
This review is from: The Man From Beijing (Paperback)
This is quite an unusual type of thriller. One expects another book by a Swedish author to be in the style of many television programmes from Sweden and Denmark. This book started off like one of those programmes, with an account of a horrendous crime in a small village, and it finished with the reader knowing by whom and why that crime had been committed.

However, in between there are accounts of what happened to someone who went from China and returned why America quite a few decades ago. The central character in the story becomes a female judge from Sweden. There is quite a lot of detail about the treatment of people who were working on building the railway in America, and about Chinese politics, especially internal conflicts.
As you read the book you start wondering where all this is going. If you persevere than the events leading up to the horrendous crimes become clear. Not being sure about the nature of the content of the book, I looked up Mankell and it then became clear that he did have some political objectives in writing the book in this particular fashion. His passionate concern about equality, his personal political ideology and his interest in Africa account for this unusual type of thriller.

In many ways it was interesting to learn a lot about Chinese politics and how that is impacting on the world today. In the same way conflicts and tensions in some parts of Africa were also informative.

However, you wondered as to whether all the events took place were not far too contrived to fulfil the author's political aims. For example, it was very convenient that the female judge had a friend who was going to China and she needed a break and so went to China. Another example is that odf the incident when someone broke into her house, but did not harm her. And it was clear later on in the story that the burglar's aim was to kill the judge. So why not kill her when she was completely alone in the house?

There are many other questions one would ask. I would like to read other books by Mankell not because I am expecting them to be excellent thrillers but because his political insight, although biased, is interesting.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 18 April 2011
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Mr. N. J. Murphy (Spain) - See all my reviews
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A brilliant book spoiled by sloppy editing and poor typesetting I gotveryfed up with words being run together. Poor job Mr Publisher.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without Wallander but still gripping, 26 Feb 2011
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This review is from: The Man From Beijing (Paperback)
I ordered this in the mistaken impression that it was a Wallander mystery.
When I received it, I expected to be disappointed. Not a bit of it, I was held from the first page. The translation manages to keep the brilliance of Mankell's writing. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who really enjoys crime stories with just that much more content.
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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Caution: banality on every page, 27 Dec 2010
By 
C. Thwaites (USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man From Beijing (Hardcover)
Q: Do I blame the author or the translator? A: the author

This is one of the most puerile pedagogic rants you will ever read. Let's start with the plot. You can guess who of the "dun it" by page 70 of the 359 page book. Clue? He does one of those Conan Doyle alkali planes tricks. Then there's the circa 1970s NUS bromides throughout the book. The evils doers are all capitalists, with a special place reserved for Americans. Then there's colonialists. The author can't seem to maintain his calm as he describes Ian Smith's Rhodesia as brutal, racist and fascist on three successive pages. Mugabe is "misunderstood and fair" and, best of all, the Cultural Revolution a "whoops but well intentioned mistake" that modern China should yearn to return to.

It's palpable nonsense from beginning to end and swarms with that upper class superiority that only the Swedes can engineer. Don't bother. My copy hit the trash the day after Christmas...and I paid for it.
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7 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Needs an editor, 29 Sep 2010
By 
John R. Sumser "John" (Turlock, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man From Beijing (Hardcover)
I don't even mind that the premise is absurd, but this has to be one of the most poorly written books ever published. I tend to like Mankell, and I admit the book may be better in Swedish, but it was sold to me in English so someone really needed to read it before it was printed. The writing is wooden and dull -- the passing along of information. He shows complexity by asking questions; he makes things mysterious by asking questions. Most of the characters are inexplicably irritable.

Here is a paragraph in which depth of character is established by having the character ask herself lots of questions in the third person. "She began to despair over the Swedish judicial system. Whose servant was she in fact? Was she a servant of the law, or of indifference? And what would the consequences be if more and more children were allowed to commit crimes without anyone bothering to react? How had things been allowed blah blah threatened by a lame judicial system?" A servant of indifference?

It's really a shame that established writers can publish crap like this.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The man from Beijing.., 14 Jun 2010
By 
Paul M. Kavanagh "Paul Kavanagh" (Clonard, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man From Beijing (Hardcover)
I was really looking forward to this book, but after the first couple of chapters the magic was gone and it was a work like performance to finish the book.

Great story but I think badly handled

Paul Kavanagh
Clonard County Meath, Ireland
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A book too far for Sweedish fiction, 13 Jun 2012
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This review is from: The Man From Beijing (Paperback)
Absolute drivel, enough with the semi-depressed Sweedish gloom. Main character muses on present day Sweeden like some middle aged Daily Mail reader and looks back fondly on her youth when she was a little red book carrying Maoist. The rest of the book makes even less sense.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally engrossing, 13 Feb 2011
By 
HelenG (Abbots Langley) - See all my reviews
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Wow, what a thriller and so detailed and interesting. I raced through this as I just had to know what it was all about. So cleverly linked the past and present, Mr Mankell paints a picture that just blows you away. I'm a big fan of the Wallander series and this stand-alone novel is just a wonderful read. Highly recommended, try it and see!
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The Man From Beijing
The Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell (Hardcover - 28 Jan 2010)
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