It was a crime of senseless violence. On a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse, an elderly farmer was bludgeoned to death, his wife left to die with a noose around her neck. As if this didn’t present enough problems for Ystad police inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman’s last word, his only tangible clue, was “foreign.” If publicized, it could be the match that would inflame Sweden’s already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments.
In this case, unlike the situation with his ex-wife, his estranged daughter, or the young prosecutor who has piqued his interest, Wallander finds a problem he can handle. He quickly becomes obsessed with solving the crime before the already tense situation explodes—though it will require all of his talent to do so.
© 1991 by Henning Mankell. English translation © 1997 by Steven T. Murray
“An especially satisfying crime novel, like those of such past masters as Georges Simenon, Nicholas Freeling, and Sweden’s own Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö.”
Wall Street Journal
“Inspector Wallander has established himself as one of the best of recent detectives…Tightly plotted.”
Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Intelligent, moving and topical, this is a thriller of the very best kind.”
“An exquisite novel of mesmerizing depth and suspense.”
Los Angeles Times
“A well-crafted police procedural…The story moves along at a brisk pace and comes to an exciting climax.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Combines thriller-quality entertainment with a depiction of antiforeigner prejudice in Sweden, painted here as a very chilly place indeed.”
“[A] brilliant US debut…The author goes well beyond the narrow police procedural in creating a full-bodied Wallander and in casting light on the refugee problem in contemporary Swedish society.”
“Mankell’s work mixes compelling procedural details with strong social consciousness…A superior novel—and a harbinger of great things to come.”
Dick Hill, named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, is one of the most awarded narrators in the business, having earned several Audie Awards and dozens of AudioFile Earphones Awards. In addition to narrating, he has both acted in and written for the theater.