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Publisher's Summary

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

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  • Brendan
  • Hamamatsu, Japan
  • 08-02-12

"Somebody is not telling me the truth ..."

Scandinavian gloom reaches its fascinating apogee with this series of detective novels by Henning Mankell, of which The Troubled Man would appear to be the last. Kurt Wallender, the middle-aged police detective and anti-hero of the series, is a divorced, lonely, rather unhappy man, who happens to have a real talent for sniffing out the truth behind complicated criminal cases. Two television series (one English, starring Kenneth Branagh, and the other Swedish which is far more authentic if you can get your head around Swedish with subtitles - I swear you begin to understand the language more and more!) have been made about these books. The stories are centred around the town of Ystad on the southern tip of Sweden and the characters always seem to be hopping over to nearby Copenhagen for some R&R, possibly for relief from the rather earnest nature of rural Sweden. The plots are interesting because they bring in issues such as refugee-smuggling and the sometimes difficult relations between Sweden and its Baltic neighbours. The country's neutral role during WWII and it's ambivalent relationship to NATO also come under inspection. Wallender has a daughter Linda who has become involved with a young financier (working in Copenhagen, naturally!) whose parents suddenly disappear one after the other. The father was a former naval officer and submarine commander who was concerned with several (actual) Soviet submarine incursions into Swedish territorial waters during the early 1980s. There is more than a hint of political intrigue tying in to the pro-American attitudes of the Swedish military and its open distaste for the Social Democrat prime minister Olof Palme, who was assassinated on a Stockholm street in 1986, a crime which has never been solved to this day. Wallender, plagued by his failed marriage, dental problems, and his growing fear of death as he passes the 60 mark finds himself leaving his dog with his neighbours more and more ("Are you sure you don't want to sell him?") as he travels to Riga, Berlin and various parts of Sweden in an attempt to unravel the puzzle. There are times when one feels like giving him a good swift kick but his obduracy and dogged unrelenting approach to the problem elicit reluctant admiration. What really happened? Read (or listen to) the book!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I'd expect nothing less...

A troubled, troubling, stirring, well-wrought end to the Wallander cycle that has me wanting to read and listen to all of them again. I discovered this author on Audible and have savored each book. In this last novel, Mankell has succeeded in what so few authors seem to be capable of, closing his series subtly, beautifully, remaining true to his characters and yet also exploring his terrain with wonderful intuition and character insights, keeping the book moving with compelling twists and turns. Mankell has turned the book, Wallander, and the reader all on their heads and has the reader/listerner looking at everything within (the pages, the plot, the life) in a new way-- sad and glorious. How I will miss Wallander, and how grateful I am that I met him and his creator!

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Must Read for male Boomers

Well written. Probably the best of the series (I've read them all). At last, a great narrator. Male Boomers: you are not alone. Walk and ponder with Kurt Wallander. It is an illuminating stroll.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Why do I read these?

Kurt Wallander is a gloomy man and the books are as much about what is going on in his head as they are detective fiction. This one finds Kurt more disturbed and disturbing than usual brooding about his advanced age of 60 and his impending death as a result. As a 68 year old I kept wanting to remind him as his doctor did that 60 is not the end of life! Still, I like the novels and also the BBC series based on the character which captures the spirit of the man as portrayed in these books. The biggest downer of this particular novel is that I suspect that it is the last in the series. Certainly if you have not listened to any of the Wallander novels before, do NOT start with this one.

A final thought. Although the narator Robin Sachs did a fine job and I would not hesitate to listen to other books he reads, I do not agree with the criticism of Dick Hill in this regard. Foreign books do not have to be read with foreign accents and in fact, that can sometimes make then more difficult to follow.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • Longview, TX, United States
  • 05-10-12

Fine finish to this character

I am a fan of Henning Mankell's books, particularly the Kurt Wallander Mysteries. This story is a fine finish. The evolvement of this character is what makes the series so dear. Sad to finish, but a good read. Would be better to read earlier books first.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Oh so sad...so sad.

I have so enjoyed Kurt Wallander books over the years. I was ecstatic that a new book in the series came out. How disappointed I am, however.
The narrator was good - no issues there.
The plot was trudging and dull. Kurt was so moody and sad. The book to me was an empty shell, with sadness within.
I really wish that Mr. Mankell had not even written this because it is the end of the Kurt Wallander books, and he left us with a pit in our stomachs about Kurt.
No excitement; no real detective work; no hope; no thrills.
I would recommend this book only if you feel that you must know what happens to Kurt so that you can have closure on the series. If you don't need this closure, let the old Kurt live in your memories.
Uggh. What a bummer.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Bergljot
  • Mosfellsbaer, Iceland
  • 06-28-13

Shame on Mankell

A fairly typical Wallander story - except for the end which was not satisfactory and a surprising treatment by the author of his long standing, key character.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Depressing.

Great detective plot, which kept one guessing nicely, but the backdrop of the slowly declining detective which starts early and is relentless is very grinding. The author clearly wanted to get a message across. The book needed editing. We don't need to know the dogs every movement or mood, or every cup of coffee (that's common to many of the Scandinavian detective series it seems!).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Oh So Troubled...

I love this author but this book was a total downer. The story of a loner who had purposely isolated himself from friends etc. Lives on the tip of a peninsula in Norway, where he is only guy on the mailman's route. VERY slow moving. Pulling teeth.

Mankell is a master at painting the picture, but the subject of this picture is a big yawner

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Stevon
  • Tempe, AZ, United States
  • 12-12-11

another winner

I wonder if Henning Mankell is writing about himself in this story? Maybe. This one was different in that Inspector Kurt Wallander has turned 60 and is questioning his own life as he transitions from middle to old age. I'm the same age and the observations he makes are interesting. It was a good detective story as well. In the end, I've enjoyed all of the Wallander stories I've listened to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful