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Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

Faceless Killers (original 1991; edition 2011)

by Henning Mankell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,8471531,343 (3.59)355
Title:Faceless Killers
Authors:Henning Mankell
Info:Vintage (2011), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Kindle, Read 2012

Work details

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (1991)

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    ehines: For an American like I am, Sweden is an almost mythical land--a sort of soft-porn socialist paradise. Both these books let you in on a very different side of Sweden. More real, but not offputting.
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» See also 355 mentions

English (129)  Spanish (7)  Dutch (4)  French (3)  Italian (3)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  All (1)  Basque (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  All (153)
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell; (3 1/2*);

Kurt Wallander is a Swedish investigative detective. He is estranged from his wife, his daughter and friends. He has a problematic relationship with his father, who I found to be such an interesting character in the novel. I thought that all of the characters were well developed, that the dialog was very well done and I found the story-line to be quite engaging. I loved the sparse prose style Mankell has used with this series.
In this particular book of the series the brutal torture and murder of an elderly farm couple puzzles and horrifies the department. The only clues are the unusual ligature on a rope used in the crime and the wife's dying whisper that their attackers were "foreign". This puts the police on the track of the immigrant population. Wallander soon finds himself spending as much time dealing with attacks by racists as with the initial crime and Mankell uses the scenario as a way to explain both Wallander's own frustration with an immigration system that's obviously badly broken and as a warning about the escalating tensions and the hatreds of folk less level-headed than the detective.
Wallander, as a detective, is a sympathetic character and the observations about Sweden in particular and Europe in general I found to be quite a brain-worm for myself. The cultural backdrop, against which the story is set, is as bleak and as barren as the wintry landscape.
I definitely recommend this series. ( )
  rainpebble | Dec 5, 2016 |
The first in the series, this is a good introduction to Kurt Wallender, a middle-aged Swedish detective whose life is beginning to fall apart: his wife has left him, he is turning to alcohol for comfort, he appears to have a dysfunctional relationship with his daughter, and his father is beginning to suffer from senility. Although there is much going wrong in his life, he's not broken but quite capable of handling the job, even a tough one such as this. In this story Swedish policy on immigrants and refugees plays a part when a brutal double murder is thought to have been committed by "foreigners", indicating a group in transition that makes them practically untraceable. Although the book was published in 1991, similar immigration issues still exist in many European countries to the present day. A well-written mystery that portrayed a complicated, engaging character as well as the country.

I enjoyed this better than any other Scandi crime novel I've tried so far. Apart from one or two minor anomalies that indicated this was not the original language, the translation was good. Recommended. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Sep 19, 2016 |
Not as dense as Dragon Tatoo or as vivid as Burkes Robicheaux novels but still a good read and a sympathetic detective. I will try another one. ( )
  JBreedlove | Jun 9, 2016 |
Great mystery/thriller. Why do Scandinavians write such great novels about murder? ( )
  richardross79 | Jun 1, 2016 |
This is the first Wallander book that I've read and although he is the stereotypical detective I found the story itself really gripping and I couldn't put it down.Looing forward to reading more in this series. ( )
  KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
Mankell was developing not only the characters but his own style, here, which is not nearly as polished as some later works..Faceless Killers is a worthwhile read for those who've come to the Wallander series late, perhaps through the recent BBC series with Kenneth Branaugh, or as a re-read for long-time series fans. Since most of the tension in the book comes from the characters, not the mystery they're solving, even knowing the ending doesn't take much away from this very solid book.

» Add other authors (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mankell, Henningprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mannila, MarkkuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murray, Steven T.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polet, CoraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puleo, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Sinopsis de la contratapa: En este histórico primer encuentro con sus lectores, el inspector Wallander debe resolver un caso casi tan complicado como su vida personal. Mientras procura desenmascarar a los despiadados asesinos de una anciana que ha muerto con la palabra "extranjero" en la boca antes de que los prejuicios raciales latentes en la comunidad desaten una ola de violencia vengadora, Wallander debe enfrentar el abandono de su esposa, la hostilidad de su hija, la demencia senil de su padre y hasta su propio deterioro físico a causa del exceso de alcohol y comida barata y la falta de sueño. Wallander terminarán por hallar la inesperada solución del caso, pero sus problemas familiares no acabarán con este libro. Por no hablar de los de su país, arrojado a una nueva era en la que, como cree el inspector, "la inquietud aumentará bajo el cielo".
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307742857, Mass Market Paperback)

If you remember with pleasure those dark and gloomy Martin Beck mysteries by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, you'll be glad to plunge into the first of Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallender mysteries to appear in English. Wallender's personal life can occasionally seem more depressing than even a provincial Swedish detective should be asked to bear, but his investigative skills are strictly first rate. And Mankell's story of the brutal murder of an elderly farm couple uncovers an unusual aspect of life in modern Sweden--a streak of fear and prejudice against the many newcomers from Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe who have sought asylum there.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:09 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The murder of a farming couple in Sweden unleashes a wave of xenophobia when it is learned that the woman's dying words were "foreigner." The case is given to Inspector Kurt Wallender, a lover of opera and booze. Part crime story, part look at the attitude of Swedes to immigrants.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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