The troubled man

Henning Mankell, 1948-2015

Book - 2011

"A novel in which Kurt Wallander becomes involved in the case of the disappearance of a retired naval officer--Linda's future father-in-law--which leads him into a story of Cold War espionage. Wallander also confronts his own age and mortality, while welcoming his first granddaughter"--

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MYSTERY/Mankell, Henning
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1st Floor MYSTERY/Mankell, Henning Checked In
New York : Knopf 2011.
Item Description
Originally published as: Den orolige mannen, by Leopard Förlag, Stockholm, 2009.
Physical Description
367 p.
Main Author
Henning Mankell, 1948-2015 (-)
Other Authors
Laurie Thompson, 1938- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Readers whose knowledge of Scandinavian crime fiction goes beyond Stieg Larsson know that it was Henning Mankell who jump-started what has developed into a 20-year golden age. Mankell's latest novel, the final volume in his Kurt Wallander series, represents a landmark moment in the genre comparable to the swan songs of Ian Rankin's John Rebus (Exit Music, 2008) and John Harvey's Charlie Resnick (Cold in Hand, 2008). We pick up Wallander's story with the aging inspector feeling his 60-plus years and suffering from memory problems that lead to his suspension from the Ystad police force. With time on his hands, Wallander throws himself into solving the disappearance of his daughter's father-in-law, a former Swedish submarine commander obsessed with an incident from the 1980s involving the detection of Soviet submarines in Swedish waters. Wallander's digging into the commander's life leads toward what appears to be a cold war scandal that could rock the current government. As Wallander strives to determine if the commander's public persona bears any relation to his private self, he launches another, more poignant investigation into his own past. Has he always been the man he feels he has become—"filled with self-pity, a thoroughly pathetic figure"—or does his past tell a different story? This is a deeply melancholy novel, at times painful to read, but Mankell, sweeping gracefully between reflections on international politics and meditations on the inevitable arc of human life, never lets his story become engulfed by darkness. Always a reticent man, Wallander shows an intensity of emotion here, a last gasp of felt life, that is both moving and oddly inspiring. An unforgettable series finale. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The swan song of a much-loved series is always a big event, and thanks to the PBS series based on the Wallander novels, this one has some extra frisson. Expect off-the-book-page coverage on NPR and major print outlets as well as a widespread online advertising campaign. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

After his stand-alone historical Daniel, Mankell returns to his beloved detective Kurt Wallander in this tenth and possibly final installment of the best-selling series. Wallander delights in the birth of his first grandchild and enjoys the company of his daughter, Linda, but struggles with his role as an older and increasingly forgetful investigator for the Ystad Police. When the parents of Linda's partner go missing, Wallander finds himself deep in a decades-old mystery involving foreign spies, submarines, and Cold War politics. He strives to understand the complexities of the case while also dealing with the loneliness of old age, the sadness of friends' passing, and an alarming tendency to forget where he is and what he's doing. VERDICT Wallander might be aging, but Mankell is dead on in crafting an intricate plotline equal to the skills and insight of his famous detective. This is essential for fans of the series, and it succeeds as a stand-alone in the crowded field of dark, psychological Scandinavian thrillers. [150,000-copy first printing; see Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/10.]—Catherine Lantz, Morton Coll. Lib., Cicero, IL [Page 55]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In Mankell's masterful 11th novel featuring Kurt Wallander (and likely the last in this internationally bestselling series, according to Sonny Mehta's note to the reader), the 60-year-old Swedish detective unofficially pursues a baffling case that's part mystery, part spy thriller. At the 75th birthday party for Håkan von Enke (the "troubled man" of the title), von Enke, a retired Swedish naval commander, tells Wallander about a 1980 incident involving an unidentified submarine that "invaded Swedish territorial waters." Von Enke was about to fire depth charges to bring the sub to the surface when higher-ups ordered him to abort. A few days after von Enke confides in the detective, he disappears; shortly after, his wife goes missing as well. As Wallander's quest for the truth leads him back to the era of cold war espionage, Mankell (Firewall) deftly interweaves the problems of Swedish society with the personal challenges of one man trying to understand what happened and why. 150,000 first printing; 5-city author tour. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

When his father-in-law, a retired naval officer, disappears under suspicious circumstances, Kurt Wallander uncovers disturbing evidence of Cold War espionage, a case that forces him to confront dark truths about his own nature.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

When his father-in-law, a retired naval officer, disappears under suspicious circumstances, Kurt Wallander uncovers disturbing evidence of Cold War espionage, a case that forces him to confront dark truths about his own nature. By the award-winning author of Firewall. 150,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The much-anticipated return of Henning Mankell’s brilliant, brooding detective, Kurt Wallander.On a winter day in 2008, Håkan von Enke, a retired high-ranking naval officer, vanishes during his daily walk in a forest near Stockholm. The investigation into his disappearance falls under the jurisdiction of the Stockholm police. It has nothing to do with Wallander—officially. But von Enke is his daughter’s future father-in-law. And so, with his inimitable disregard for normal procedure, Wallander is soon interfering in matters that are not his responsibility, making promises he won’t keep, telling lies when it suits him—and getting results. But the results hint at elaborate Cold War espionage activities that seem inextricably confounding, even to Wallander, who, in any case, is troubled in more personal ways as well. Negligent of his health, he’s become convinced that, having turned sixty, he is on the threshold of senility. Desperate to live up to the hope that a new granddaughter represents, he is continually haunted by his past. And looking toward the future with profound uncertainty, he will have no choice but to come face-to-face with his most intractable adversary: himself.