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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 (718 )
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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Overall
4.1 (329 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (325 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (8)
Performance
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  •  
    Rebecca brentwood, CA, United States 01-01-08
    Rebecca brentwood, CA, United States 01-01-08 Member Since 2007

    Daily Dog Walker and LONG Silicon Valley commutes, so I gulp through and love lotsa books, especially literary fiction and Mystery.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A new Henning Mankell fan is born"

    I often expect to be entertained with a good mystery, but my expectations save for a handful of writers usually end right there. This is my first Mankell novel, and I'm savoring the prospect of now reading more.

    The book is atmospheric and touching, the plotting deft and this is no mean task since lesser writers would have held the reader captive with the gruesome and grisly torture and carnage that send the book's protagonist on his detecting mission.

    The character development is superb, this book transcends the genre classification of "mystery" and is, rather, a novel and a fine one in the best sense of the word.

    The narration was also strong, and in the end the book made me reflect, gave me pleasure in describing landscape, a father-son relationship, and police team relationships, and finally entertained, I could not stop listening. An excellent read, I look forward to making up for last Mankell time now!

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    12-18-07
    12-18-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    12
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    "Intelligent and clever"

    This book has an intelligent and clever plot and even though it is 17 hours long, a good listen.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    verge hingham, MA, United States 03-10-10
    verge hingham, MA, United States 03-10-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    35
    11
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    1
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    Overall
    "Kurt Wallenger does it again"

    The story is well paced and our hero is real and as usual shows his weaknesses with all his strenghts. Loved the voices of the charactors and the dialog was real

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherri Morningstar 10-27-09 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting plot"

    This was my first outing into European NOIR. I am very attached to Michael Connelly so the bar was rather high. I really liked the way the author set up the various aspects of the story to then bring them together. I like the ending and reflections of the villian. I also liked to picture the various towns and characters via the swedish accent. Good story telling.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy New Mexico 05-01-10
    Kathy New Mexico 05-01-10 Member Since 2007

    Kathy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Reflective murder mystery"

    I truly enjoyed this novel. It reminds me of life before we were so technologically advanced (neither good or bad opinion is implied here). This is not a quick-action book,but rather one that shows the rather plodding, methodical approach that is required to solve a murder. It presents the whole life of the protagonist rather than just the part that revolves around the mystery being solved. I found the reader fine. My problem was more with the foreignness of the Scandinavian names. I am looking forward to reading more books by Mankell.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vira Pretoria, South Africa 04-11-13
    Vira Pretoria, South Africa 04-11-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    108
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    77
    76
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tit for Tat"

    This book recalls the Old Testament dictum of "An eye for an eye". Or the concept of Karma, where what you give out is what you get back.

    Its different. In the end we almost feel sympathy for the murderer, and antipathy towards the victims.

    I enjoyed this different-ness. The reason I didn't give it four stars is simply because this is not my favourite genre.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Old Hippy PA 10-03-11
    Old Hippy PA 10-03-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    96
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    Story
    "Really, really good story and narration! Gripping"

    Well, I guess I've become quite the Mankell fan now. After listening to this great tale, I realize I must now go back to the beginning of the series and start with Book 1 and read through each one up to the time of this novel. Kurt Wallander is such an intriguing character. Actually, all of Mankell's characters are fascinating. Be aware, that if you're the type who has to have high-pitched action, bang-bang-shoot-'em-up, and endings where everything is blown to smithereens - then Mankell is not for you. I saw these described as "cerebral" detective stories ... they're so much better than that, but the stories are intricate and well-plotted. The best thing I can say about Mankell, and Hill's terrific narration, is that you find yourself immersed in the stories from the start.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Seana Bainbridge Island, WA, USA 03-04-08
    Seana Bainbridge Island, WA, USA 03-04-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    35
    3
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    Overall
    "Good story/audio"

    This book was well read. The story is set in Sweden and the reader has a Scandanavian accent. The story is quite good and seems fairly original.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lehua Volcano, HI, USA 12-11-08
    Lehua Volcano, HI, USA 12-11-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    60
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    9
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    Overall
    "Yet another Murder by Narrator"

    The reader on this one is so bad I couldn't even hang in, and that's new for me despite the plethora of bad readers. He overacts horribly and most of the time he not only puts huge, portentous pauses between each word, he puts them between the SYLLABLES of each word!

    Normally, I can extrapolate the quality of a story from underneath a bad reader but, in this case, it was too much of a mess. I'd have given the author the benefit of the doubt enough for a 3, but the premise wasn't remotely believable, and had nearly a complete absence of background.

    Save your credits.

    12 of 16 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
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    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
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