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THE MAN WHO SMILED – “You’ll smile too.”

July 19, 2011

The Man Who Smiled

(a Kurt Wallander Mystery)

Vintage Crime/Black Lizzard

by Henning Mankell

2005, 325 pages, paperback

Well,  of course,  it may help to have watched Kenneth Branagh in the PBS program based on this series, but the book is damn good reading and stands on its own!  1) It starts as Wallander is dealing with having shot someone (in self-defense). Right away mystery-story readers are faced with real consequences, not escapist, literary ones.  2) Crime has changed, from small time hoods to corporate scams–things are complex as today’s world.  3) But, Kurt Wallander is a product of his upbringing and going to be relentless in his questioning, no matter what anyone things. What a great stand-in for the mousy reader who also wants to get things right (at least vicariously).

“Wallander produced his police ID. ‘I’m afraid it’s sometimes necessary to disturb people,’ he said.”

I love the Swedish setting, the names, the levels of paranoia and, of course, the fog. Wallander is us, but with a difference. He can sift through events and find things we should have caught, but didn’t. This is brooding at its best and as we get closer to the truth, the criminals start closing in on him. Welcome to some sleepless nights.

Buy this directly from amazon for $9.03. Click here: The Man Who Smiled: A Kurt Wallander Mystery (4) (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) (See all Mystery Books)

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