The much-anticipated return of Henning Mankell’s brilliant, brooding detective Kurt Wallander.
Håkan von Enke, a retired naval officer, disappears during a walk in a forest near Stockholm. Wallander is not officially involved in the investigation, but he is personally affected—von Enke is his daughter’s father-in-law—and Wallander is soon interfering in matters that are not his responsibility. He is confounded by the information he uncovers, which hints at elaborate Cold War espionage.
Wallander is also haunted by his own past and desperate to live up to the hope that a new granddaughter represents, and will soon come face-to-face with his most intractable adversary—himself.
Suspenseful, darkly atmospheric, psychologically gripping, The Troubled Man is certain to be celebrated by readers, listeners, and critics alike.
More mayhem? Listen to all of our Kurt Wallander mysteries.
©2011 Henning Mankell (P)2011 Random House
It was sad to listen to the last Wallander novel - each book has been so well done and you get to know the strengths and foilbles of all the recurring characters. I like it when you've hung around the protagonist and the other actors so long that you know how they think, what they're likely to do (or not do), you become aware of their weaknesses and - when once in awhile they fall victim to a failing - you speak to them saying "No, No! Why are you doing that? Get a hold of yourself!" The Wallandar series cultivates that kind of intimate relationship. Mankell's writing is always slow (nicely feels like real time, not "abridged" or hurried up), giving you time to immerse into the story's environment, to visualize it. His are somewhat cerebral novels, fine explorations of characters, good procedural police work, engrossing well-crafted and topical mysteries, and occasionally (sometimes when you least expect it) frightening encounters. I've loved Mankell's work and will miss Kurt Wallander, because this is the last one, the swan song, a sad goodbye to an old friend.
I will warn you that, if you're a Wallander fan like me, The Troubled Man was a bit of a disappointment. And not simply because it presages curtains for Kurt. The story felt like it dragged a bit, there was a little too much about his daughter Linda, which I guess is to lay the foundation for her emergence as Ystad's new police officer. But I've started the first Linda Wallander series novel and the spark is really gone.
I don't think it will spoil the mystery for you to say that it turns out that - like his father - he has Alzheimers (in addition to the diabetes); after all, the disorientation, memory lapses, and related episodes that play out as a side-story. You should have been able to put that together well before the story matures.
It reads almost as if - and it wouldn't surprise me at all if Mankell composed it this way deliberately - reading this novel is a must for Wallander fans to be able understand what's happening to him and to be able to accept and let go. For the many of us who have painfully watched our own loved ones slowly cross into that other world, a cruel purgatory - this story reads lovingly and feels real.
I'm glad I read it.
I recommend you listen to all of the Wallander mysteries. These are good stories. Although I haven't listened to all of them this may be the best even if it is the last. I would also recommend you watch the original Swedish films on DVD or Mhz. The PBS version with Kenneth Branagh is good but the originals are better.
In none of his 9 preceding mysteries has Inspector Kurt Wallander been less discerning or quick-witted. We are tempted at several points to shout hints to him about clues he has seemingly missed until hours later and just kick him on the ankles to get him moving out of his constant funk. The story is a good one, both well suited to our political fears in these days of slipping back into Cold War jitters, and also befitting Mankell's considerable skills. The telling, however, is marred (for me, ruined) by Wallander's fixation on how old he's become (he's 60, for gosh sake's, not 90!). OK, Mankell needs to be sure we don't expect an 11th Wallander mystery, but surely he did not have to immerse the real mystery of The Troubled Man (not a reference to Wallander, by the way, although it might as well be) into this back story. On the plus side, a wonderful reading by Robin Sachs, who is responsible for 1-1/2 of my stars. Reach for an earlier Wallander book.
I've listened to quite a few of the Kurt Wallander detective novels and have always enjoyed them. Yes, as other reviewers have noted, they are not particularly "exciting" or action packed, but Kurt's life, relationships, and the problems he works to solve have been like visiting an old, comfortable friend. This last effort was somewhat interesting, but long and sad.
I love to read and hope you do too! Audio books are great for people on the go!
I have to weigh in on the side of Dick Hill, because he's one of my favorite readers and he really did an outstanding job reading the Wallander series - "...with...or...without...the grouse". Robin Sachs does a creditable job, but Hill really had done a perfect job characterizing the mood of the series. And a British accent is not a Scandinavian accent. Neither reader actually pronounces the -berg ending correctly, for example. Listen to those Maj Sjowall-Per Wahloo books to get that right.
The book itself was a dark and brooding end to a dark and brooding series. It was a little less in character than the other more consecutive books in the series, but overall was a good but sad end to the series.
This book moved along, even though Wallander was quite depressed. It was very apparent that after the supposedly final Wallander mystery, Mankell was looking for ways not to bring him back. Too bad, because Kurt Wallander is so much more interesting than his characters in The Man from Beijing. So he did bring Wallander back for this one, and I am glad. But at times was ready to commit suicide because of the depression.
I'm an avid mystery reader and listener. Henning Mankell is a skilled author, and I have overall enjoyed his books, even though I believe they would be better if he stayed clear of political commentary. Although his left leaning sensibilities are pervasive throughout his novels (in particular the Man Who Smiled), the Anti-Americanism in The Troubled Man was tiresome. If you aren't an apologist for the Soviet Union, perhaps you will also be frustrated and bored by the intrigue in this novel.
This was diverting as I washed the dishes. That's about it.
While I liked the idea of aging and crankiness being incorporated into the detective story format, the repeated deus ex machina action tested even my willingness to be disbelieving of chance meetings or gut decisions in detective fiction. I was ready for this to be the last book in the series by the time it ended, and kind of wish I hadn't wasted my time.
Robin Sachs does brilliant male characters and generally conveys the tone of the narrative's moment. But--like far to many men narrators--he can't seem to differentiate between women! With one exception, all women characters seem to have been drugged into near-catatonic flutteriness. I simply don't buy Linda's passivity of speech (particularly when descriptions of her tone and actions are totally opposite). Just annoying, and I would avoid any future audiobooks that have women characters read by Sachs.
This is begging for a spoiler, but I'll refrain.
This book was a pleasant surprise. I had not read any of this series, but I saw an episode based on the books on PBS. I didn't really like the show at all, but I thought I would give it a try. While Kurt Wallander is definately not my favorite character - too whiney and dramatic for me - I would recommend this book. The plot was good and it was interesting enough to have me looking for an escape to take my MP3 somewhere and get 30 min of listening time.
I wasn't really on the edge of my seat, but it did draw me back, pulling on my emotions of what happened to the missing man and the story of the girl in the home.
When Wallander was visiting the home, describing the emotions he was experiencing there.
A suspensful and heart rending story!
This was a very enjoyable book.
Clearly the last book of this series, which is sad. The story line was very good, the writing excellent, as always. Not a fast paced book but one very worthy of your time. Deserving of the NYT best seller list!
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