The Fifth Woman by Henning Mankell

     I am drawn to Kurt Wallender and feel a sympathy for the cop and his “need to understand” the underpinnings of whatever unnatural death comes under his investigation.
     Wallender is exhausted by the heavy weight of fear and dread that comes along with the piece- by- piece assembly of clues and theories, the dead ends. the battering against what seems impenetrable.
     We have heard the story of the lonely, gritty detective–divorced, alienated, grimly determined–for many years, but Wallender seems to me to be one of the loneliest, most dedicated of the lot.
     Years ago, we somehow thought of Sweden as happy, sunny and blonde. Nowadays the Scandinavian criminals and detectives we are meeting in novels are grim, gray and gritty. There is the rich storytelling of Steig Larsson and his genius with the dragon tattoo. But we have also discovered some other magicians of the dark lands of murder from Norway and Sweden. Mankell and Wallender are two of my favorites.


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