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The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell
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The Dogs of Riga (1992)

by Henning Mankell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Kurt Wallander (2)

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English (62)  Spanish (5)  German (2)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
This is my second Henning Mankell book, after "Faceless Killers", and I didn't like it as much.

"The Dogs of Riga" is the second Inspector Wallander crime thriller. This time the Swedish detective tries to solve the mystery of the two bodies of young, well-dressed Eastern Europeans found accidentally on a drifting lifeboat.

The investigation leads to Latvia. A colleague from Latvian police comes to Sweden to help, and upon his return to Riga is murdered. It is now Wallander's turn to travel, to Riga, to try to find out what happened. He is sucked into the underground revolutionary struggle (the story takes place shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union) and his quest stretches well beyond the initial scope. He meets, and kind of falls in love, with his Latvian colleague's widow, who tells him her husband was murdered by the forces that be, due to his uncovering of corruption.

The story line is much too broad and it seems Henning tried to reach too far. At times the things Wallander does or thinks (for he does a lot of thinking in this book) seem somewhat unreal and out of place for a Swedish police officer. The book ends somewhat predictably, which is always a bad sign for a crime thriller.

Wallander also drinks much less coffee than he does in the first novel. Perhaps a bit more caffeine would have focused Henning better when writing this novel. ( )
  ashergabbay | Aug 10, 2014 |
I am rapidly becoming a Henning Mankell fan. Yet another great entry in the Wallander series, this time involving drug smuggling and police corruption and Kurt going to Riga and falling for yet another woman. He is a bit Morse-like in that respect but it isn't really the cavalcade of women. He seems to get crushes and they are also tied up in his rather awful morass of a life. I love the way the character is being developed and the relationships with the other officers as well as his family. The mystery is also great, more in the Cold War Spy thriller category and very well done. Read more!
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
Second in the Wallander series, this one is interesting. I found the ending a bit contrived, but what isn't in crime fiction that requires a few red herrings? There is tension, suspense and a bit of analysis. The writing is good but perhaps suffers a bit from translation from Swedish in being a bit simple at times. But it's a good read and a bit different from some of the more typical efforts. ( )
  mldavis2 | Jul 2, 2014 |
I watched the Wallander TV series last winter and this book was the subject of one of the programs. Of course I didn't remember how it worked out so the ending was as much as a surprise as it would normally be. I do remember that I was somewhat confused by the time Wallander spent in Latvia when I watched the video. The book makes that much clearer. One of the reasons why the book is always better than the film.

It is late fall 1991. An inflatable life raft washes up on the shore near Ystad where Kurt Wallander is a detective. In it are two bodies and it doesn't take too long to ascertain they were murdered. When Interpol is contacted they soon identify the two men as being Latvian. A Latvian police officer, Major Liepa, comes over to Sweden to help with the investigation. Since it is obvious that any crimes involved occurred outside of Sweden Liepa soon takes over the investigation and returns to Latvia. Just after his return Liepa is murdered and Wallander is asked to come to Riga to help with the investigation. What he discovers while he is there is that Latvia is still a country under the control of Moscow. Wallander is convinced that Liepa was killed because he was investigating the ties between organized crime and the powers that be, including people in the police. One, or possibly both, of Liepa's superiors is involved but Wallander can't decide which. He believes Liepa would have kept a file about his investigation but even Liepa's wife doesn't know where it could be. It takes a surreptitious return to Riga plus nights and days on the run for Wallander to meet up again with Liepa's wife.

Wallander is the polar opposite of an American police detective. He carries no weapon, he continnually has doubts about his detecting, his aged father harangues him about his decision to enter the police force and he suffers from a multitude of physical problems including a boil on his butt. And you can't help but love him because he is so very human.

It was a little strange to read a book set in 1991 and realize how the world has changed. The Baltic countries are now tourist destinations but in 1991 they were grey, depressed and depressing. On the other hand, I read this at the time that Russia invaded the Crimea so anything is possible. ( )
  gypsysmom | Mar 7, 2014 |
Good strong writing - however, a little dated at this point as it was originally written in 1991 at the fall of the USSR and set in the almost post-Soviet Latvia. At that time, so little was known about these Baltic countries - but now they don't seem quite so mysterious. However, still very strong book. A lifeboat with two dead bodies washes ashore in Sweden and it ultimately linked back to Latvia. Wallander is invited to Riga to help investiage multiple murders and is wrapped up in violence and political mayhem. ( )
  stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
Set against the chaotic backdrop of eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mankell's intense, accomplished mystery, the last in his Kurt Wallander series (Firewall, etc.), explores one man's struggle to find truth and justice in a society increasingly bereft of either. Here the provincial Swedish detective takes on a probably fruitless task: investigating the murders of two unidentified men washed up on the Swedish coast in an inflatable dinghy. The only clues: their dental work suggests they're from an Eastern Bloc country; the raft is Yugoslavian. But their deaths mushroom into an international incident that takes Wallander to Riga, Latvia, and enmeshes him in an incredibly dangerous and emotionally draining situation, battling forces far larger than the ""bloodless burglaries and frauds"" he typically pursues in Sweden. In Riga, Wallander must deal with widespread governmental corruption, which opens his eyes to the chilling reality of life in the totalitarian Eastern Bloc: grim, harrowing and volatile. Wallander's introspection and self-doubt make him compellingly real, and his efforts to find out what happened to those men on the life raft makes for riveting reading. There's a pervasive sense of Scandinavian gloom, in Wallander and in the novel, that might be difficult for some American readers, but this is a very worthy book-a unique combination of police procedural and spy thriller that also happens to be a devastating critique of Soviet-style Communism.
added by VivienneR | editPublisher's Weekly
 

» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henning Mankellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Puleo, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Strax efter klockan tio på förmiddagen kom snön.

It started snowing shortly after 10 a.m. (English)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Synopsis for the Dutch edition: 
"Op een winterse dag spoelt een rubbervlot met twee dode mannen aan op de zuidkust van het Zweedse Skane. Na een anonieme tip stelt de politie een onderzoek in. De mannen zijn vóór hun executie gemarteld. Identificatie aan de hand van hun gebit levert een spoor op dat Wallander naar de Letse hoofdstad Riga voert. Daar dreigt hij een pion te worden in een Baltische intrige." 

Sinopsis de la contratapa: En esta segunda entrega, tras haber familiarizado a sus lectores con la fría región de Suecia donde Wallander es jefe de policía, Mankell traslada al inspector fuera de su jurisdicción, al vecino país de Letonia. En la capital debe investigar la muerte de dos letones, cuyos cadáveres llegaron a la costa sueca, paradójicamente, a bordo de un bote salvavidas. Acosado por sus problemas de salud, sus remordimientos por desatender a su anciano padre o la angustia por la separación de su mujer y la pérdida de contacto con su hija, la vida del inspector dará un vuelco cuando conozca a Baiba Lepa, una mujer que agregará a los conflictos políticos de Letonia las turbulencias propias del amor.
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When a life raft carrying the bodies of two Eastern European criminals washes up on the Swedish coastline, Inspector Kurt Wallender travels to Riga, Latvia, where he struggles against corruption and deceit and risks his own life to uncover the truth.

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