By Henning Mankell
Read by Dick Hill
Blackstone Audiobooks, (2006)
An Unabridged Audio Book on CD
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - May 3, 2010
This is Henning Mankellís first Kurt Wallander crime novel, a case his Swedish detective handled in 1990 when he was 42 years old. But after finishing eight full-length novels, Mankell wrote five short stories, collected in The Pyramid, which describe pre-1990 cases since Wallander started as a police patrolman.
I turned to this Swedish crime writer after reading Stieg Larssonís exceptional trilogy involving Lisbeth Salander because of publicity claiming that those who enjoyed the Swede Larssonís marvelous books will enjoy Mankell. I found I had several problems with the Mankell books. First, as Mankell realized, "facts" about Wallanderís life mentioned in The Pyramid are different than in this volume, and this is somewhat annoying, although it does not ruin the story if one thinks that this is a somewhat different character. Second, Mankell is a totally different writer than Larson. Larssonís books are far more dramatic and proactive, with more unusual and interesting characters, and suspense that never lets up. Larssonís people move with emotion and determination, driven by hate and desire and revenge. Mankellís stories move at leisurely pace, driven, so it seems, by fate, the weather, by a man just happening to come into the police station, a man who neither Wallander nor his staff knew about. Mankell fills his tales with information that is unrelated to the story, such as what sweater Wallander decides to wear because of the outside temperature, feelings of loneliness, worry about his daughter, and that he needs to stop during his driving to pee.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.