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on 8 June 2017
Service excellent, book as advertised
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on 6 August 2017
Brilliant
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on 16 August 2017
A Cracking good read!
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on 3 April 2016
A reasonable read , but It's not in my opinion one of the better ones. So if this is your first Wallander book please don't be put off reading any more.
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on 8 May 2017
Excellent continuation of the excellent series. A believable plot brought to a classic nail biting conclusion ..... I would recommend this to all.
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on 27 June 2017
I am approximately half way through, as all of Mankell's books, dark an gripping, most enjoyable
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 September 2005
Mankell has become the author that every new European crime writer is compared to. He's the benchmark, he sets the standard. And justly so. His brand of intense, detail based procedural is probably unrivalled in its accurate picture of police-work. Certainly, I've never read a more compelling version of the hard, repetitive slug of investigation than his.
This novel is the final Wallander novel to be translated (even though we've already had the real "final" Wallander novel, and the first that features his daughter's induction to the police-force), though only the fourth that Mankell actually penned. Standing where it does in the series it is also possibly the first Great Wallander novel. The three which go before are good, but it it's with The Man Who Smiled that the series takes off. Readers new to Mankell now have the benefit of being able to read them in their proper order.
The Man Who Smiled opens with a disillusioned Wallander wandering day in day out along a misty Danish beach, riven with melancholy after killing a man in the line of duty (see the previous novel, The White Lioness). Only when he finally makes up his mind to retire does he return home to Ystad. However, when he gets there, disturbing news awaits him. An old friend of his, solicitor Sten Torstenson, has been killed in his office, shot three times. Wallander would think nothing of it - the official train of thought is some kind of break-in - but for the fact that Sten had tried to contact him while he was away. Sten was convinced that his father Gustav's death - his car overturned on a deserted, foggy road - was no accident. His father was a cautious driver, and would never have driven in fog. Too, in the weeks before his death Gustav seemed very worried about something he was keeping hidden from his son.
In the face of the new killing, Wallander's becomes convinced something sinister lies behind both deaths, and concedes to return to the job, heading the team investigating the lawyer's murder.
Much of what can be said about Mankell's crime novels already has been. His characters are compelling and human (this novel sees the appearance of Ann-Britt Hoglund, the female recruit who is such a presence in the remaining novels. This one too, actually); his picture of Sweden as anything but a snowy Nordic idyll is as impressive as Rankin's rendering of Edinburgh or Burke's Louisianna; he is a master of sinister and unbearably claustrophobic atmospheres (which contrast admirably with Sweden's huge open spaces), and his version of police-work is the most realistic I've come across, certainly the most nerve-bitingly tense. He's one of the best there is.
Part of the reason why it's all so engrossing is Mankell's mixture of details. He has a moody obsession with weather and the time, and he depicts a level of procedural detail that should be all rights be dull, but is instead riveting. Because of this he has created a very real impression, through the whole series, that the crucial breakthrough, the information which might crack the case wide open, could come from absolutely anywhere, from the most mundane of tasks.
The other great strength is, of course, Wallander. He may not be the most cheerful company, but he is charming and one of the most endearing of current detectives. In a way, he's more real than Bosch or Rebus, less of a hard-man certainly. Though similarly flawed, he doesn't really behave like either. He tends to throw himself into the investigations and constantly obsess over them to relieve his tension. And he gets angry properly: like a child. In Firewall his frustration becomes so much that he snaps and throws a chair across a colleague's office.
The Man Who Smiled is a bit shorter than some of the most recent translations, which only makes it better. Just as much quality is distilled into less space, so the whole thing is more powerful and also slightly faster. This one is actually the most conventional of Mankell's mysteries, and there are some excellent twists and turns here. The strongest individual aspect is the sinister figure of Alfred Harderberg - the multinational business Wallander becomes convinced is behind everything. He lives in a secluded castle, seems to be permanently unreachable, hides behind an army of wintry secretaries and is in the constant company of two silent goons. Oh, and he has a most unnerving constant smile...
Sadly, then this is the last new Wallander novel I will get to read (unless Mankell makes a spectacular u-turn). Good to go out on a high note, though: it may be the last, but of this astoundingly fine series it is also one of the best.
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on 2 May 2017
Good read kept you entertainted through.out.
Why i have to keep.up with more words who on earth understands now i can finish
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on 14 April 2017
The opening of the fourth novel in this series finds Kurt Wallander in a deep depression. At the conclusion of the last book, he shot a man to death, and even though it was clearly a case of self-defense, he's devastated by the fact that he has taken another man's life. After brooding over the incident for more than a year, Wallander resolves to quit the police force and is at the point of turning in his papers when a very bizarre case grabs his attention.

An elderly lawyer has died. The reader knows right away that the man was murdered, but the murder is successfully disguised as an auto accident and fools the initial investigation. The man's son, also a lawyer, makes a clandestine visit to Kurt Wallander, who is still recovering, and tries to convince him to investigate his father's death.

Wallander refuses and presses ahead with his intention to resign. But then the son is murdered and Wallander determines to investigate. He returns to the force, and quickly proves that the father's death was a homicide and not accident. But trying to identify the killer will take all of Wallander's considerable skills--that is, if he survives that long.

This is another very good entry in the series. The characters are fully developed; the plot is engaging, and the police investigation seems very realistic. Fans of the series will enjoy it and it should appeal to any fan of Scandinavian crime fiction. Kurt Wallander is the polar opposite of someone like Lucas Davenport who could easily kill a couple of bad guys before breakfast and not worry about it any longer than lunch. He's the prototypical Scandinavian detective--introspective, depressed, and relatively humorless, which makes him an occasionally nice change of pace from his American counterparts.
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on 10 September 2017
So far the only Wallander book I've read. Very bleak and barren, not what you'd expect from Sweden, or at least not what you've been led to expect. The story was gripping, despite the overt pessimism, and well written. Without being excessively violent, it was still chilling. I look forward to reading more of his work.
An Angel's Alternative
Cold Steel on the Rocks
We Are Cold Steel
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