After reading so many new books (which I will catch up on my reviews in the future), I’ve been rereading some old favorites. One of these is the first Kurt Wallander book, Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell.
Wallander is well-known by PBS Mystery watchers. If you’ve only watched the video interpretations, you’re really missing out on some great books. Mankel weaves action, character, and a great feeling of the Swedish countryside together in a seamless satisfying whole. I can still imagine those cold winds from the book. The writing style is excellent too. When you’re reading a translation, you never really know if the style is the author or his translator. But I imagine that we must thank Steven Murray for giving us a true rendering of Mankel’s style in this case.
In this introduction to Kurt Wallander, an aging farm couple are murdered in a bloody way that is not typical of the rural, Swedish landscape. Wallander and his team work their way thru the possible solutions to the crime with meager clues in a very logical, exhaustive way. If you’ve seen the video version, try to forget it as you read the book! The puzzle is a satisfying one. This is definitely a must read!
Ever since I met the mother and son duo, Charles Todd, at Malice Domestic this year, I’ve been reading their Inspector Rutledge books. Ian Rutledge is a Scotland Yard Inspector who was an officer in the bloody first World War. He’s returned with his own version of post-traumatic stress syndrome as well as Hamish’ voice in his head, a soldier he had shot because he didn’t follow orders. I was very curious how this accomplished author duo would handle Hamish since I have a similar situation in my first Sissy Holmes mystery. Without doubt, they do it seamlessly without interrupting the flow of the stories. Hamish plays a very important role in establishing Rutledge’s mental condition. If you do choose to read this book where Rutledge has managed to get Hamish under some control, I recommend that you read the earlier books in the series too. You won’t be disappointed.
The many historical details ring true and take the reader into different parts of the English countryside with ease. Their is a certain charm to their books which reminds me of other writers who’ve been this comfortable in their writing togs. If you have the opportunity to meet them in person, don’t pass it up. They are that charming.
As for Hunting Shadows, you won’t be disappointed as you read about how the Inspector puts his wartime experiences to use when he hunts a sniper in the Fens of England. I won’t tell you more since it’s fun to watch his logic unfold as you read. He is their Poirot in that way, except you get to hear his thought process as the book progresses instead of waiting for the explanations at the end of the book.