When archaeologist Louise Cantor’s son Henrik is found dead in his flat, she refuses to believe it was suicide. Clues that only a mother could detect lead her to believe something more sinister took place. Henrik had kept many things back from her and she is shocked to learn he had contracted HIV. The only lead is a letter and photograph from Henrik’s girlfriend in Mozambique. Louise’s quest to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s death takes her to Africa.
Although the narrator Anna Bentinck is extremely good, this book does not deliver on the promises of the publishers summary confirming Mankell's 'status as a master of suspense, and delivers a timely and riveting thriller which will have readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.' I am a keen fan of Mankell's Kurt Wallender mysteries and expected this book to have the same sort of pace and suspencefulness. It is agonisingly slow and contemplative and no-one could be in any doubt about what the death of her son means to the main character Louise Cantor. Mankell's portrayal of Africa - the ravages of Aids/HIV on the population, and ruthless expolitation by the 1st world rings horrifyingly true. And the parallels to Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad are many - Kurtz, death, darkness and horror. Wandering about in the middle of this is a solitary, middleaged, vulnerable, fey Swedish archeologist discovering her son's secret life and looking for his killer to take revenge. The lack of any possible satisfactory resolution made it hard to finish. Your time would be better spent listening to Heart of Darkness and Audible has seveal versions available.
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