Thursday, May 31, 2012

Throwback Thursday: Faceless Killers by Henning Menkell

Author: Henning Mankell
First Published in 1991 in Sweden, in English in 1997

It was a senselessly violent crime: on a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse an elderly farmer is bludgeoned to death, and his wife is left to die with a noose around her neck. And as if this didn’t present enough problems for the Ystad police Inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman’s last word is foreign, leaving the police the one tangible clue they have–and in the process, the match that could inflame Sweden’s already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments.

Unlike the situation with his ex-wife, his estranged daughter, or the beautiful but married young prosecutor who has peaked his interest, in this case, Wallander finds a problem he can handle. He quickly becomes obsessed with solving the crime before the already tense situation explodes, but soon comes to realize that it will require all his reserves of energy and dedication to solve.

I have read a few of the Swedish authors in the past, but Faceless Killers is the first I have read by this author.    Faceless Killers was on OK read for me. Set in the early 90s, the book is a bit dated when it comes to technology.  It's not really exciting and there is no real action.  I also think that the solution to the mystery was a bit of a let down.  I was glad I listened to this one as the names and places would have bogged me down with pronunciation. 

What intrigued me more about the book was the main character.  Kurt Wallander is divorcing, has no relationship with his daughter and is coping with caring for his elderly father.  He drinks a little too much, doesn't eat right and never exercises.  But, he is a pretty good cop and doesn't give up on his case.  I liked that this took place over a few months.  That made it more realistic to me.  While it wasn't great, I am intrigued enough to seek out the next in the series to try it out.  Hopefully the next mystery is better.

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