An elderly lawyer is driving home in thick fog from a meeting with his most important client. He is anxious and upset. He has learned something for which he cannot keep silent. He fears the fog, he fears for his life. He reaches the crest of a hill and there in the middle of the road is what appears to be a man slumped in a kitchen chair...From there I was sucked into this great novel. I am listening to the Kurt Wallander novels in order. So far I have not been disappointed. They are masterfully plotted. The stories are complex and fresh, filled with commentary on a changing country and a changing way of life. Wallander is bruised and battered and brilliant. His supporting characters have flesh and they breathe. I am hooked. I cannot say enough good things about these excellent police procedurals.
The story slogs on, the narrator is so annoying, which may have colored my experience of this writer. The narrator has a thoroughly irritating way to depict the female characters, halting and odd. I read a different book by this author, narrated by Grover Gardener-MUCH better. I'll try this writer one more time, without Dick Hill as the narrator.
I'm hooked on the Henning Mankell books about Kurt Wallander. The plot in this one is very complicated and touches on an evil practice that is probably more prevalent than most people realize. It's a good listen, even though the plot is a little too complicated for real life...or is it?
If you like scandinavian mystery, this is a good example. Lacks the tension of "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and the villain is obvious to everyone except the police but is never boring.
One of Mankell's best! Interesting plot and story moved right along with less depressing moments from our great police officer (can't spell his name).
I would love to see how this book would read after a top-notch American book editor massaged it. I have thought that British mysteries, as a whole, contain TMI about the main characters but I think the Swedes now have the No. 1 position.
I lost count of how many times I said "TMI" [too much information] while listening to this book. "He cut his toe nails before going to bed"! Really? REALLY!
If you got all of the angst that the main character (the #1 Swedish detective) has because he shot & killed a bad guy last year out of the way then there is a pretty good mystery in "The Man Who Smiled" but it is more of a character study than a mystery.
The opening chapters set the stage...mood...mystery...
The first scene with the attorney driving down the dark road.....you think something is going to happen...but what will it be?
I'm addicted to this series....i love Dick 's narration. I've bought wallander the PBS series.
I recommend this series. I wish they were listed #1, 2 etc. I've read then out of order however that didn't detract from the joy of reading this thoughtful policeman.
Cormac O Cuilleanain
Great characterization, strong Swedish setting, a convincing sense of the evils of the world and how weak we are when we try to change them. Although the plot structure sometimes exceeds the bounds of plausibility, this is storytelling of a high order. The reader on this recording tries too hard: characters tend to sniff, quaver and squeak. But when you get used to that, and begin to tune it out, the story comes through with steady hypnotic power. Highly recommended.