The Pyramid: Kurt Wallander Paperback – 17 Jan 2013
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Mankell is the master of Scandinavian crime, much imitated, never bettered" (Independent)
"An excellent collection" (New York Times)
"[A] brilliant collection of stories from the grand master of chilly Scandinavian crime" (Daily Mirror)
"Absorbing... A good book for newcomers to start with" (Daily Telegraph)
"The master of the long, dark night" (Crime Time)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This turned out to be the same book as Wallander's First Case which I had already purchased. Felt as though I had just wasted my money.Published 16 days ago by Mrs Carole Jordan
Good to get insight into early Wallander. We can now understand the character better - great shame no more Wallander! RIP Mankell.Published 4 months ago by wyn a jones
Poignant to have read these postscripts to the Wallander series after the authors death, but a worthy reminder of their and his brilliance.Published 5 months ago by MichaelH
The first of this collection reminded me of an uninspired Martin Beck story. Like most of these stories it fills a gap in Wallander's history, although I did not feel that they... Read morePublished 6 months ago by tiredoldgit
Excellent stand alone book in the Wallander series, and if you are a fan of the books, this is a must.Published 6 months ago by Julia Williams