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This is another must for all lovers of well written crime thrillers, from the pen of Henning Mankell and starring Kurt Wallander, one of the best detectives created in recent times.

This is a complex tale. Almost two books in one, it tells the tale of an assassination plot in South Africa, with tendrils reaching as far as Sweden. Mankell alternates sections of the two distinct tales, the story of the plot and investigation in South Africa and the investigation by Wallander of a seemingly motiveless murder, bringing the two together and tying up the whole thing satisfactorily in the last few pages.

As with the predecessor, the excellent `Dogs Of Riga', this book tackles some weighty political and moral issues head on. Centred around the fall of apartheid and white rule in South Africa it shows the regime for what it was. He describes the lives of ordinary people, showing their preconceptions and ability to not see the truth in almost forensic detail. This section of the book is a fascinating, well researched and well written account of the period, and the moral and ethical issues arising from the situation.

The thriller component of the book is mainly contained in the Swedish strand, with Wallander's hunt for the murderer and the personal implications as the killer turns his attentions on Wallander and his family. As usual with Mankell, this is a well written and pacey bit of crime fiction, not afraid to show the mundane procedures that form an important part of any real life investigation. Things really hot up when Wallander gets on the trail of the killer, and he must push the boundaries of his abilities and moral code in order to see justice served.

Another tense, atmospheric book from Mankell. All the characters are well written, with distinctive voices. The motivations of all are considered, with some interesting studies of human nature. Don't be put off by the nearly 600 pg length, the book draws you in and after a few pages you find yourself totally immersed in it and unable to put it down. Mankell is a top notch writer and holds your attention right to the last page. An excellent read, essential to all those who enjoy thoughtful crime thrillers with a moody atmosphere and a moral lesson (but not one which is rammed down the throat). Five stars, no hesitation.
19 people found this helpful
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on 21 November 2016
I don't know why but after Wallander solves the mystery surrounding the death of Mrs. Akerblom, I lost interest.

The story becomes tenuous because of Wallander's "breakdown" and it just doesn't seem feasible or realistic that he could get away with that kind of carry on. Several attempts are made to explain why he behaves like this, but it doesn't add up in my mind. It was a great story until 3/4 of the way through though.

The ending is also quite abrupt and a bit of an anti climax. Considering the waffle to get to that point, I expected a bit more.
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on 7 May 2018
A novel that starts well enough but is unable to sustain its interest. I found the frequent departures to the secondary plot wholly unnecessary and frankly, I skipped them. I read this book because I want to follow Wallander and his investigation, not characters that it is impossible to build any interest in. The novel is longer than the first two, which creates problems of pacing in a detective novel.
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on 7 September 2014
Excellent book. This is the first book that I read from the author Henning Mankell, after I had read an interview about him in the local Metro newspaper.
I didn't realise it was from a series of books about the detective Wallander.
This was the start of reading all the books in the series and all the other books that Henning Mankell wrote.
I have now finished reading every book from this author and also bought the DVD series.
Unfortunately, I am at a loose end now as I do not know which author to follow next.
I am open to suggestions if anyone can recommend another auhtor.
I think Henning Mankell has another book out soon.
I do hope so.
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on 14 January 2015
I thought this was a really great book. The much wider scope in this book thanthe earlier ones - covering South Africa as well as the Baltic reveals Mankell (or may be his English translator, or both of them) of being capable of communicating a much wider palette of tones and colours than I had expected. The Southern African voices ring true, as does the atmosphere of Apartheid South Africa - which of contrasts incredibly, in many ways with Sweden in the early 1990's. This book was a great read both absorbing and thought provoking.

Highly recommended.
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on 7 April 2013
Although I enjoyed Kenneth Brannagh as Wallander in the BBC series, I found following the original Swedish programmes hard work. However the books although somewhat bleak at times (which befits the landscapes in the TV series) they have far better pictures. The images conjured up are worth the price of the books albeit I see someone a bit more like Brannagh than the Swedish actor as Wallander. The stories are compelling and very descriptive.
I have read all the Larsson books and Nesbo's Harry Hole and although Wallander predates these I am engrossed in them too. Scandenavian detecives may be a fad but I'm hooked so give them a try.
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on 19 February 2014
I've never watched either of the Wallander TV series and stumbled across the books by chance. I've become hooked and am now reading them in the order in which they were written as there is a running narrative from one book to the next - this is the third in the series, following the Dogs of Riga and Faceless Killers. It's not essential that they are read in order but it helps paint a picture of Wallander's character. What appears to be an apparently simple murder investigation becomes wrapped up in international politics. The novel romps along at an impressive pace with apparently parallel investigations in Sweden and South Africa. I found the characters to be well crafted though sometimes the detection seemed a little too convenient. However, this didn't detract from a jolly good read.
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on 2 August 2016
Another winner. The story swings between Sweden and South Africa and the time following the release of Nelson Mandela. It is indeed a page turner and I found it hard to put down to do the mundane things of life - like preparing a meal etc., You would be amazed how inventive one has to be to peel potatoes whilst reading a kindle.
I would recommend this novel to any fans of Mankell.
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on 17 October 2014
My first reading of a Wallander novel. As someone weaned on Ed McBain this is quite a change but an enjoyable one. It is rich in detail, realistic ( the behaviour of the NKVD trained villain was exactly as one would expect ) and the plotting was good too. His observations and descriptions of South Africa were good too, much as I remember. Yes, a good read. Recommended.
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on 3 April 2018
loved this book. Not usually into thrillers but this one grabbed me and took me to South Africa and Sweden. An easy read but keeps you guessing. Will read another one of his.
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