Sunday, December 12, 2010

Henning Mankell's The Pyramid: and Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries

The Pyramid: and Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries

I first heard of Henning Mankell after reading The Millenium Trilogy by the late Steig Larsson. I have a the tendency to read the wikipedia pages of the the books that I read after I finish them. I stumbled upon Henning Mankell as an influential author of Steig Larsson’s style. Since I like the dark moodiness of Larsson’s books, I thought I would give Mankell a try. I purchased the first two novels in paperback at the Barnes & Noble near Wrightsville Beach, NC while I was on vacation.

I think I was instantly hooked on Mankell’s style of writing, but more importantly the character of Kurt Wallander. He’s lonely, occasionally depressed, eats lots of junk food, and most importantly drinks tons of coffee. I myself am a coffee addict largely because of my job, which requires me to work long hours, which are often irregular.

Henning Mankell’s attention to small details is often what gets me the most excited. Portions of his novels are spent discussing the characters coming down with the common cold, or even thinking that they are coming down with the common cold. I think this recurring theme is one of the nice touches of his novels.

The book that I am reviewing today is entitled the pyramid and four other kurt wallander mysteries. That is exactly what it is, meaning “The Pyramid” is what really shines in this collection of five short stories. The stories range in length from 26 pages to about 150 pages. “The Pyramid” really is a classic Wallander tales, with lots of coffee drinking, eating of sandwiches, and roundtable meetings between the investigative team. In typical Wallander novel fashion, the team has pretty much locked the case down with a fair amount of the story left, and the last portion of the story is spent actually finding the villain.

Two other short stories in the book, “Wallander’s First Case” and “The Death of the Photographer” are excellent Wallander tales. Two very short stories, “The Man with the Mask” and “The Man on the Beach seem as if they were written for a magazine (which they very well may have been) but are still interesting. These compare favorably to Joseph Finder’s “Waiting for the Train to Minsk” recently published in the New York Times.

All in all, this is a must read for the serious Henning Mankell/Kurt Wallander fan and highly recommended. Even though all of the stories take place before the first Wallander book Faceless Killers, I would recommend reading it after reading at least three Wallander novels.

Up Next: My re-read of Joseph Finder’s Vanished.

3 comments:

  1. I like the small attention to details in books. I watched an interview once by a favorite author where he implied that most readers can only say if they liked a book or not, and that the details won't be remembered. It kind of implied that readers lack intelligence, and I'm here to say...NOT TRUE. To me it is the little things that a character continues to do and the recurring themes that you mention that make them so memorable. I feel like I know them as well as I know my own spouse at times.

    I believe that when a reader can make a story that has been written on paper come to life, that it is a true compliment to the writer. My dreams would be mighty empty if the world hadn't been blessed with such talent.

    I can't wait to read your review of Vanished. Joseph Finder will be very appreciative. As you know, Nick Heller is my newest love and reading the short story Waiting for the Train to Minsk is making my time waiting for Buried Secrets to be released unbearable!!!

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