Tuesday, October 9, 2012

FACELESS KILLERS by Henning Mankell

Maybe the times require another kind of policeman, he thought. Policemen who aren’t distressed when they’re forced to go into a human slaughterhouse in the Swedish countryside early on a January morning. Policemen who don’t suffer from my uncertainty and anguish.


Henning Mankell’s Faceless Killers is an excellent police procedural.

Ystad Inspector Kurt Wallander and his team investigate the brutal murder of an isolated farm couple.

Wallander has just gone through a divorce. He is estranged from his daughter. His father is beginning to suffer from dementia. His life is falling apart.

Wallander’s investigation becomes complicated. The farm wife uttered one word before she died, “foreign.” Someone on the police force leaks that detail. Two right wing militia members threaten to kill an immigrant for each of the two people murdered by “foreigners.” They kill one man and plan to kill a woman to avenge the wife.

The police work through the investigation over a long period of time. It is dogged investigation. They ask questions. They go back again and again. They use their training and intuition to solve the crime.

By the end of the story, Wallander has things more together, though he faces another tragedy. A doctor diagnoses Wallander’s closest confidant on the investigative team with a terminal illness.

This book seems true to life. It is the way I think police procedurals should be. There is not a lot of plot manipulation. Investigation, investigation, investigation will solve the crime if anything will. A little dose of coincidence sometimes helps too.

This is the first Kurt Wallander I’ve read, though I’ve had these books on my TBR list for some time. I got the book in our local used book store. I plan to go back and look for more. 

This book was translated from the Swedish by Steven T. Murray. 

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