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The Fifth Woman: A Kurt Wallander Mystery | [Henning Mankell]

The Fifth Woman: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

In an African convent, four nuns and an unidentified fifth woman are brutally murdered, and the death of the unknown woman is covered up by the local police. A year later in Sweden, Inspector Kurt Wallander is baffled and appalled by two strange murders with an elusive connection to the fifth woman.
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Publisher's Summary

In an African convent, four nuns and an unidentified fifth woman are brutally murdered, and the death of the unknown woman is covered up by the local police. A year later in Sweden, Inspector Kurt Wallander is baffled and appalled by two strange murders. Holger Eriksson, a retired car dealer and bird watcher, is impaled on sharpened bamboo poles in a ditch behind his secluded home, while the body of a missing florist is discovered strangled and tied to a tree. The only clues Wallander has to go on are a skull, a diary, and a photo of three men.

What ensues is a case that will test Wallander's strength and patience, for in order to solve these murders he will need to uncover their elusive connection to the earlier unsolved murder in Africa of the fifth woman.

©1996 Henning Mankell; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The darkest of Swedish noir." (Publishers Weekly)
"Intricate plotting, chilling psychological divination, and thrilling police procedural." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (772 )
5 star
 (268)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.1 (376 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (370 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (48)
2 star
 (13)
1 star
 (8)
Performance
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  •  
    Ada Eban 11-29-14
    Ada Eban 11-29-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    5
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    Story
    "Cliches, lengthy, do not recommend"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    mostly change of the story.


    Has The Fifth Woman turned you off from other books in this genre?

    yes actually, until I find a new LeCarre


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    yes, I did read it to the end, so I guess does evoke some suspense


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    adrienne EAGLE RIVER, AK, United States 06-11-13
    adrienne EAGLE RIVER, AK, United States 06-11-13 Member Since 2009

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    164
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    Performance
    Story
    "Complex murders, mystery, and revenge"

    Kurt Wallander is able to take seemingly unrelated events and clues and piece together a cohesive picture that solves several murder cases. The book seems to progress at a moderate pace, gain speed, and then explode in the "aha moments."

    Mankell writes in a similar style to other Scandinavian authors. However, I am not left feeling the gruesome depravity and evil found in some of the others. He weaves a great story and tucks in all of the threads at the end.

    Dick Hill is an excellent narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Max Etheart 04-26-13
    Max Etheart 04-26-13

    mildmax

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    8
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    Story
    "Weak story, overacting narration"
    Would you try another book from Henning Mankell and/or Dick Hill?

    I have enjoyed Dick Hill's narration of other works but this time out he "overacts," if that is the right word. Mankell's story is weak and pedestrian.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Fifth Woman?

    Novel has repeated dialogue that could, and should, have been edited out.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Pleasanton, CA, United States 04-09-13
    Melissa Pleasanton, CA, United States 04-09-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well Written"

    I enjoyed this book, as I have all of the Kurt Wallander mysteries I've listened too. I was prompted to write this review because I disagree with other listeners who have complained about Dick Hill's narration. I don't know Swedish, but his pronunciation seems genuine to me. As for his ability to carry off other voices than the main character, I think he does a very good job! I don't mind at all when he does a female voice, as I have with some other narrators. His expression is right on and if he is a little monotone at times I don't have a problem. This is a Henning Mankell book! He is a slow, methodical writer and the cadence of Dick Hill's voice is perfect for these books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LA 01-15-08
    LA 01-15-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
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    117
    13
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    "better to read than listen"

    Usually I prefer books by ear than by eye, but this one is one of the exceptions. The narration is banal, the story slow to develop. I like Mankell, and the book, but the audio format does not work on this one.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad rolling hills estates, CA, United States 05-12-08
    Brad rolling hills estates, CA, United States 05-12-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
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    "boring boring boring"

    This is the first book I did not finish. It is horrible. I am the easiest to please in this genre and I found myself turning to the news in the car for more excitment. The plot takes forever to get going and is boring. Also the narration is brutal. It is filled with ridiculous banter between characters that is a complete waste. Blah!!

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Aptos , CA, USA 04-06-08
    David Aptos , CA, USA 04-06-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    6
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    "Asleep in Sweden"

    This mystery is paced so slowly and has so little action or character development, that it is the opposite of suspense or intrigue. I had no interest in finishing the story. Mystery writer who give away the identity of the murder in the beginning, run a high risk of loosing their readers/listeners. The inspector spends most of his time going over and over what he doesn't know while the "in the know" reader is wondering when he and his dull witted staff will put the 2+2 together. Definitely not recommended. A mystery needs much better use of language and local color - his lack luster depiction of both Africa and locations of Sweden were drab, boring, and without any specificity or flair.

    6 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ivy Batori 03-02-15
    Ivy Batori 03-02-15 Member Since 2013

    Ivy

    ratings
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    7
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    Story
    "Intriguing story"

    Good story' well paced and well written. Characterization is good plot is suspenseful. It makes. You want to read more by the same author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Galadriel 02-13-15
    Galadriel 02-13-15 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Did I read the same book?"
    What would have made The Fifth Woman better?

    Less repetition, better prose (or a better translator?) Maybe it's just me, but I don't get it.


    What could Henning Mankell have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Seriously, I do wonder if the fault is with the translator. The same phrases are used over and over to express the same ideas seemingly without any creativity or inventiveness. The plot outline was intriguing, but the dialogue and descriptions are - I hate to say it - boring.


    Any additional comments?

    First I noticed that Kenneth Branagh was the star of the BBC series called Wallender. Then I read the glowing reviews, so I figured oh boy, a great new series. I'm halfway through the audio book and don't know if I'm gonna make it. The prose is so mind-numbingly simple and repetitious, that I want to scream. The same obvious statements are made again and again and again, and in exactly the same words: Yes "we must solve this case" and yes "the murders are related but somehow we're missing something" and yes "maybe a woman did it - or maybe not."

    Now and then we are reminded of how depressed Swedes are in general. Nobody exhibits a shred of the dark humor that keeps detectives from going nuts. That said, I'm still faintly interested to see if I'm right about who dunit and why, which seems so painfully obvious that I want to scream the answer at my IPad. This may put me off scandanvian Noir for some time. Back to the Irish and Scots I go!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dwhith 08-25-14
    dwhith 08-25-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Another Moving Chapter in this Wonderful Series"
    What did you love best about The Fifth Woman?

    The plot. Henning Menkell's plots are complex and rich. I want to ask him "Where do you get your ideas"!


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Definitely, Who would the killer take next, how would the murder take place, will Wallander be able to stop him or her?


    Have you listened to any of Dick Hill’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes. I have also listened to him read the novels of Ed McBain. He is perfect for those novels. His sometime staccato performance is ideal for McBain's writing. I struggled with his narration on these novels at first. I thought all of his characters sounded like a New Yorkers. Now, I cannot imagine the series without him.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes. I was deeply saddened by something that happens to Wallander regard his Father. No details!!


    Any additional comments?

    Read this novel, but don't start here. Start at the beginning with "Faceless Killers". These novels are among the best police procedural novels I have read. Menkell is a fine writer and these books are better savored in order.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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