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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saying goodbye to a friend
Well I suppose I should first admit that I am a fan of Mankell's famous Swedish detective, & I have read every book, in chronological order, over the last five years. For those of you who might be put off reading the Wallander books as you've seen the tv versions, please don't be. The dramatised tv & film versions are a vague shadow of the books.

I won't try...
Published on 3 April 2011 by Average User

versus
61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was never going to live up to expectation
It would seem that public, or maybe publisher, demand rather forced Mankell into one last Wallander novel. In interviews in the decade or so since the last one he had said he he thought that the series had run its course, and he didn't feel he had anything new to bring to the character. Indeed he had started out to create a new series featuring Wallander's daughter Linda...
Published on 29 Mar 2011 by Alex


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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saying goodbye to a friend, 3 April 2011
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Well I suppose I should first admit that I am a fan of Mankell's famous Swedish detective, & I have read every book, in chronological order, over the last five years. For those of you who might be put off reading the Wallander books as you've seen the tv versions, please don't be. The dramatised tv & film versions are a vague shadow of the books.

I won't try to comment on 'The Troubled Man' in a way that would earn me a page in a Sunday paper book review, but simply describe it's impact on me.
It will sound strange, but I was reticent about starting to read the last Wallander novel. I think that because the series of Wallander novels have given me so much reading pleasure over the last few years, I was reluctant to reach the end of the line.

However once I turned the first page I found myself in a familiar scenario of not wanting to put the book down, as the progress of the flawed policeman continues to grab my attention. When I read the last page, I found myself incredibly saddened by the final fate that Mankell simply laid out for his detective. I can offer no explanation for my surreal emotion, other than to accept that over the years I have been completely drawn into the character, his strengths, weaknesses and fears.

Trying to be objective, I'm not sure how much I would have enjoyed this finale without understanding Wallander's history, and so my simple recommendation is that you initially read 'Faceless Killers' - the first Wallander novel - to start with, and if you enjoy it, follow the stories from there.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Going out at the Top., 22 May 2011
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This review is from: The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery (Hardcover)
A beautifully written, unsentimental end for Wallander - an immense effort by the translator. Unlike many authors Mankell has been able to finish with what some see as his greatest creation and he has successfully managed to release him without killing him off and with, apparently, no space for revival. This ending it seems cannot be reversed in the way that the Reichenbach Falls incident could. Although I'll miss Wallander I am sure that we should trust the author's sense that enough had been told. Many authors have trouble finding a satisfactory ending to an individual novel, let alone a phenomenon but I think Mankell has gone out at the top with this book. The story itself has at least three major themes: the investigation, written with all the verve and cunning of other Wallander books; heritage in the plot involving Linda, and the exquisitely plotted end for Kurt himself. This really is the best of the Wallander novels, a genuine climax, worth every penny! The political intrigue is gripping.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Many Troubled Men, 27 Mar 2011
By 
Simon Savidge Reads "Simon" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery (Hardcover)
When you start reading `The Troubled Man' you can almost instantly tell from its style and delivery that this is going to be the last of the Kurt Wallander novels. Not because the ending of it all is given away from the start, and fear not I shall not give anything away here either, but because from the start Wallander seems incredibly reflective and nostalgic about his past and indeed his future. Initially this concerned me slightly. This wasn't going to be a case of an author spinning out the final instalment using as many words and random tangents as possible was it? No, is the answer. What Mankell uses this for is to show us just where our protagonist is in his head and why he takes on a case that really doesn't fall under his jurisdiction, though I could be wrong as I don't know the ins and outs of Sweden's legal system or its police procedures.

When Hakan von Enke suddenly vanishes on an April morning it is most out of character. However it is not a case which Wallander or his team are given and yet he gets himself embroiled in it all. This isn't for professional reasons; in fact it's all rather personal as his daughter Linda (now a police officer like her father) has met the man of her life, who happens to be Hakan von Enke's son. This could seem rather intangible but having read `Faceless Killers' and in the glimpses of back story we get we soon learn his and Linda's relationship has not always been good. Here is a father who desperately wants to keep that relationship and help, and possibly protect his daughter. As the mystery develops not only does Hakan's wife Louise go missing, but a political secret starts to come to light from the past as well as some more personal family secrets the von Enke's have been hiding. In fact these secrets from the past, which all evolves around the Cold War and Sweden's part in it (based around submarines as Hakan von Enke was in the navy as a commander) becomes an additional strand to the novel and one that interested me far more than I would have expected it to.

I did think that `The Troubled Man' could have done with a fair bit of editing. It seemed to go on with various sub-plots of crimes that Wallander sort of starts investigating, and then leaves in favour of this more personal case, seemed like padding. I also thought the characters slightly weaker, well lots of them vanished in fairness, in this novel. Wallander seemed fully built, if a bit solemn and self pitying (but then as the book goes on we see why), as did his daughter Linda, everyone else was a little more two dimensional, but maybe that is where me not having read all the series and previously followed all of the characters to this final dénouement comes into play. This is both a positive and a negative as it has made me want to go back and start again, but also disappointed me somewhat as I tend to think the best series are the ones you can pick up at any point. Even if normally I tend to read them in order.

Regardless of how good this book is or isn't, and I did find myself hooked apart from the odd ten pages or so every so often, people will be buying `The Troubled Man' in their droves. It's not the thriller that I was expecting, in fact it's darker and rather more depressing, than I had imagined but it is a solid crime novel.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Troubled Man, 5 July 2011
The Troubled Man is an absorbing read. It mixes the investigation into the disappearance of two elderly people with an intriguing spying plot. It is the exploration of Wallander's character that most caught my interest. He is nearing retirement age and has some serious health problems. He is absorbed with thoughts and fears of dying and death. His relationship with his daughter, his ex-wife and an ex-lover all add to the rich mix of the man's life.
It is not an uplifting read, however, and it left me with some heavy feelings and thoughts about my own advancing years.
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was never going to live up to expectation, 29 Mar 2011
By 
Alex (Sandhurst, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery (Hardcover)
It would seem that public, or maybe publisher, demand rather forced Mankell into one last Wallander novel. In interviews in the decade or so since the last one he had said he he thought that the series had run its course, and he didn't feel he had anything new to bring to the character. Indeed he had started out to create a new series featuring Wallander's daughter Linda. Only one book Before The Frost: A Linda Wallander Mystery billed as 'A Linda Wallander Mystery' was published before the actress who played the character in the Swedish Yellow Bird television series committed suicide. At that point Mankell stated he was so shocked and upset by the event that he couldn't write another. Strange then that so much of this book should feature not only Linda, but also her newborn child, her fiancé and his parents. Is he reopening the door to more Linda Wallander books? Time will tell.

The risk in continuing a series beyond its natural end is that the author starts to repeat himself and at worst descends into self parody. In this book Mankell definitely does the former, possibly deliberately, and comes dangerously close to the latter. I say the repetition may be deliberate as Wallander spends a lot of the time looking back over his past life and cases. There is some reference to most, if not all, the previous Wallander books, and there is even a nod in the direction of some of his other work, with one episode here bearing a great similarity to the basic premise of his stand alone novel, Italian Shoes. At times it was redolent of Scrooge being shown the major incidents of his life by The Ghost of Christmas Past. The (almost) self parody comes about as several times Wallander seems to have come to a dead end or be stumped by some piece of evidence, when suddenly and 'luckily' he has a friend or former acquaintance who is an expert in some obscure or esoteric subject. It reminded me of the old Miss Marple films of Margaret Rutherford, when she would be faced with some seemingly impossible predicament and then she would reveal that 'luckily' in her youth she had been the All England ladies fencing/showjumping/swimming/etc. champion. Again these friends and acquaintances of Wallander's have generally appeared in previous novels and that fact just stops the book stepping over the self parody line.

One last gripe, a few times, especially early in the book, Mankell seems to be pointing out to the reader that something is a significant clue rather than following his normal method of letting you figure it out for yourself. If it were a film or TV show the incident would be underscored by heavy handed music just before a scene change or advert break. I can only assume this is intended for the new readers the publicity surrounding this novel might attract.

Having said all of that, there is just enough of the old Wallander, and of a case, albeit outside of his formal duties, to keep fans happy. Well maybe 'happy' is not the correct word in the context of a Wallander, or any Mankell novel. Never uplifting, even at the best of times, there is an added poignancy to this one. I suppose I am glad I read it, and I am sure other fans will buy it, probably despite some reservations. If you have not read any of the previous books, this is definitely not the place to start, and my advice would be to go back to the first in the series, Faceless Killers, and work through them in order.

A final plea to publishers - Is it too much to ask for ALL pages, not just the recto, to be numbered, and at the bottom?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Troubled Man, 1 Aug 2011
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This review is from: The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery (Hardcover)
Henning Mankell, ended Kurt Wallander,s career with a storyline that held my attention to the very end.It was a story that had the content of a first in the the series,added to which was the sadness of knowing that there was no possibility of Wallender being resurected at a later time.First class crime writing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the troubled author, 6 Jun 2011
As others have said before, this may not be the best Wallender but it is still a fitting send off for our hero. When I finally laid the book down it occurred to me that it was Mankell the author who was saying goodbye to his most famous character, possibly something he would not have done without the push of the publishers. I felt sad on many levels, but pleased that i had encountered Kurt Wallender during my reading lifetime.
I am going to miss someone who has spent many of my leisure hours entertaining me.(Wallender of course) Obviously Henning Mankell has invested a fair amount of himself into the pages of his books. Please start reading the KW books from the very start with Faceless Killers to get the most of this very talented author.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegiac novel better on character than in plot denouement, 5 May 2011
By 
Maxine Clarke "Maxine of Petrona" (Kingston upon Thames, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
The Troubled Man opens with a swift recap of events in Inspector Wallander's life in the 5 years since the last novel in this popular ten-part series. He has moved from his flat in Ystaad to an old house in the surrounding countryside, near to where his (deceased) father, an unstable artist, lived. He's still employed as a policeman but is considerably detached from his career, having stepped aside from the bureaucratic chain of command and connecting only with his longstanding colleague Martinsson. The investigations he undertakes are routine and intellectually undemanding, if emotionally distressing, usually involving domestic or drunken abuse of various kinds.
In the present-day, at the proper start of The Troubled Man, Wallander is 60 and is shaken from his routine when his daughter Linda, also a police officer but seemingly not based at the same station as her father, tells him she is pregnant and is living with the putative father, a financial investor called Hans von Ecke. Linda is like her father, irascible, independent and up-front: the two of them have an opinionated, close relationship and delight in the birth of the baby. Wallander meets Hans's parents, Hakan and Louise von Ecke. Hakan is an ex-naval commander, at 75 somewhat older than Wallander, and the two men get on well - even to the extent that the reticent, noble-born Hakan begins to confide some worrying hints to the policeman.
The rest of the novel is a parallel tale: that of an "off the books" investigation by Wallander, enabled by his absence from work due to injury and taking accrued holiday; and that of Wallander's own melancholy introspection and fears of "losing it", from which only Linda, here symbolising the life-force, can release him. Although the troubled man of the title is identified as von Ecke, the description increasingly comes to apply more appropriately to Wallander himself, as he worries about his declining powers and reflects on his past. His depression, lurching sometimes into despair, is deepened by a visit from an old girlfriend (the romance between her and Wallander is told in a previous book, The Dogs of Riga).
How to sum up? The specific investigation undertaken by Wallander is very slow and drawn-out, mainly driven by his own self-curiosity and perhaps a desire to provide some clarity for Linda and Hans about Hans's family. Although political convictions are central to the mystery, they don't seem to be of much interest to Wallander. The least satisfying aspect of the mystery theme is that many small details are presented to the reader throughout, yet left hanging in the air at the end in a disappointing fashion - even though the main conundrum is solved. Individuals relevant to the case are similarly ignored, even after undertaking dramatic actions. The second main aspect of the novel, that of Wallander's introspective inner life and his elegiac musings on the past (sometimes accompanied by real encounters), is perhaps more significant to the author, and I found this story very absorbing, not least in what it has to say about family relationships and loyalties. One would have had to have read all or most of the previous Wallander books to identify with it, I think. This latter theme is fully resolved, perhaps shockingly but in keeping with what we know of Wallander and his family. Despite its occasional plot flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and think it a fitting end to this high-quality series.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wallander at 60, 9 May 2011
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This review is from: The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery (Hardcover)
This is the first KW thriller, icon of Nordic gloom, in 10 years. Apart from sleeping and dreaming badly, he suffers from invasions of youth and childhood memories, sudden memory black-outs, and a mild form of diabetes, which he neglects.
On the plus side, KW has sold his flat in Ystad full of unhappy memories of his marriage with Mona. He has bought an isolated house with a remote view of the sea. And maintains contact with daughter Linda, a policewoman on leave, who recently made him a granddad. On the downside, KW realizes he has never been a warm friend or colleague, and begins to fret about a lonely retirement. When he looks in the mirror at 60, he sees death approaching...
But despite everything, KW is on high alert to cope with the disappearance of Hakan (75), an aristocratic retired naval commander, who is also the father-in-law to be of Linda, and starts discreet inquiries. When Hakan's wife also disappears, matters become really complicated.
This novel deals with murder, old politics and decades of espionage. The murder is recent, the espionage may go back to the 1960s or 1980s, who knows? And on whose behalf in neutral Sweden, the Soviets or the USA?
This sprawling, riveting and beautifully-paced novel deals with KW's confrontations with the past. His mind is invaded daily by dreams and early memories. This deep and rich novel is full of gloom and clues that foreshadow the death of a memorable fictional hero, whose acute probing and searches kept this reader (also 60) enthralled until the final page. A truly great send-off.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read, 3 April 2011
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There is an elegiac feel to this final Wallander novel, and I enjoyed it very much. Other reviews here have rehearsed the plot - I felt that the deaths might be viewed by some as arbitrary and melodramatic, until I considered that all sudden death is arbitrary and melodramatic to those closely concerned, and in this, as in Wallander's declining health (no surprise surely given his lifestyle), I felt I was participating in a further chapter in a much loved character's progress.
Newspaper reviews have concentrated on the fact that he is only 59 - only 59 eh? I suspect the reviewers of feeling safe and smug in their 40s!
Of course we would all have liked many more books, but this final chapter is exciting, intrigueing and above all, a good read with a startling but convincing final twist.
Further, it is so good to read a thriller without the current obsession with detailed sadism against women.
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The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery
The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery by Henning Mankell (Hardcover - 24 Mar 2011)
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