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The Man Who Smiled by Henning Mankell
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The Man Who Smiled (1994)

by Henning Mankell

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English (28)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Spanish (2)  All languages (39)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
I have the rest of the Wallanders on order and I should pick them up very soon because I am rapidly becoming a big fan. I think what makes the Wallanders so successful is that they are not 'AHA' type of mysteries. The mysteries are solved but it is about the procedure and the emotional toll it takes on the people that is the focus. After the slightly long and drawn out 'The White Lioness', this one is more compact but hardly less enjoyable. Wallander is trying to come to grips with having killed someone and still seems exceptionally damaged when he gets pulled into the murder of two lawyers. What works so well is the battle of emotions that he goes through while trying to solve the case. Yes, there are chases and detective work and all of the usual stuff but it's the 'what kind of person' style that I also enjoy in the LeCarre spy stories that really makes it work.
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
Another great Wallander mystery set in the atmospheric chill of Sweden, solving the knotty murder ( or murders!) alongside the moody , sleep deprived Det Kurt Wallander. I always want to have a big mug of coffee to sip while reading Mankell. ( )
  BDartnall | Apr 5, 2014 |
http://tinyurl.com/kw7drps

I've read four of the Kurt Wallander series at this point, watched all three seasons of the Kenneth Branagh series, and watched season 2 of the Swedish series (why oh why can't we get season 1 in this country?). Fair to say that I'm rather steeped in the Swedish mystery culture. And that I know too much about Kurt Wallander. But each of these - the originals and the adaptations - show Wallander in a different light.

In the novels, Wallander is a far, far sadder character. His life is just down the tubes, man. You want to reach out and hug him, only you're afraid you'd get yelled at. After the last novel, he is truly struggling at being a police officer, but an important meeting gets him back at the station and working on a new case. He galumphs around the office each day, trying to remember his instincts.

It's really Mankell's observations of human character that make these mysteries so compelling. Because they do move rather slowly, as nothing gets done page after page - precisely the kind of mind-numbing detail that police work really is. But Mankell constantly gives us insights into the thoughts, interests, mannerisms, ideals of all the police officers at the station, as well as the witnesses and additional needed characters. As a result, when a scene with action occurs, it almost feels as if it doesn't fit inside the book and should be in a fantasy novel instead. ( )
  khage | Sep 19, 2013 |
Finished it in a few days. And I rationed myself with two chapters a day until last night when I finished the last 8 chapters. The mentor student relationship that Wallander starts with Ann Britt is one of the highlights of this novel. The whole evil financier who doesn't have a conscience got old by the end of the book. But Wallander got his man in the end. The mystery plot was more predictable in this one. ( )
  writerlibrarian | Apr 4, 2013 |
Didn't care much for this installment in the series. The story was mediocre. The antagonist was ridiculous; more suited for a James Bond film. I really hope the next one is better. ( )
  pidgeon92 | Apr 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
When Henning Mankell, the most famous Swedish writer since Strindberg, published the first Kurt Wallander mystery 14 years ago, he could not have imagined how successful they would be. In Sweden the series triumphed overnight; worldwide it has sold in excess of 20 million copies. British readers were slow to catch up.The Man Who Smiled is the fourth Kurt Wallander book, originally published in Sweden in 1994. It opens with a road accident in thick fog in which a solicitor crashes his car and dies.Questions of responsibility and morality, of justice and democracy are explicitly raised, which is unusual in detective fiction.Wallander, a sternly pensive slogger who eats junk food, is one of the most credible creations in contemporary crime fiction, and The Man Who Smiled is vintage Nordic storytelling.
added by vancouverdeb | editguardian.co.uk, Ian Thomson (Oct 23, 2005)
 
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Epigraph
"Vad vi har anledning att frukta är inte de stora männens omoral, men det faktum att omoral ofta leder till storhet." De Tocqueville
"It is not so much the sight of immorality of the great that is to be feared as that of immorality leading to greatness" Alexis De Tocqueville
Dedication
First words
Dimman. Den var som ett ljudlöst smygande rovdjur, tänkte han.
Fog. A silent, stealthy beast of prey.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Book description
Sinopsis de la contratapa: Lo último que ha visto un abogado, antes de ser asesinado, es un muñeco del tamaño de un hombre atravesado en la carretera, donde se vio obligado a detenerse en medio de la espesa niebla. Este extraño comienzo, cargado de una atmósfera de misterio tan clásica, es el punto de partida de un complicado caso de delincuencia económica en las altas esferas.
Pero es también el inicio de un enfrentamiento cada vez más personal del inspector Wallander con un adinerado, sonriente y autoritario mecenas. Sintiendo a cada paso su vida amenazada, el inspector se ganará el respeto de su enemigo pero no se detendrá hasta borrar esa sonrisa de su rostro.
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"The Man Who Smiled begins with Wallander deep in a personal and professional crisis after killing a man in the line of duty; eventually, he vows to quit the Ystad police force for good. Just then, however, a friend who had asked Wallander to look into the death of his father winds up dead himself, shot three times. Ann-Britt H?glund, the department?s first female detective, proves to be his best ally as he tries to pierce the smiling fa?ade of his prime suspect, a powerful multinational business tycoon. But just as he comes close to uncovering the truth, the same shadowy threats responsible for the murders close in on Wallander himself" -- publisher website (December 2006).… (more)

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