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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

"Faceless killers" by Henning Mankell

Recommended by James.

This is a whodunnit with a touch of the thriller. Inspector Wallander is a Swedish policeman in a reasonable sized town. A farmer and his wife are attacked and killed one cold January night. The attack is blamed on foreigners and there are revenge attacks on the local refugee camp.

The prose style is brutal. The sentences are short. There is little description. There is a lot of action.

In classic whodunnit style the hero's wife has left him and his daughter has left home. His father is going senile. These domestic things add to the burden of his days. He cannot sleep (not that he has time to sleep with round the clock police activity) and he drinks too much. The classic cop.

The other policemen at the stable have their foibles. My favourite is Rydberg who is incredibly methodical and likes to do things by the book.

The story has large amounts of nothing happens routine police work punctuated by boy's own adventure. Wallender is involved is fighting a fire, is beaten up, is shot at, and (on a surveillance) falls from scaffolding and is left hanging by a leg upside down.

It was a massive page turned but I am not sure I enjoted it.

AND on page 11 Wallender sees that the dead farmer's left thigh is shattered. On page 27 the autopsy mentions that the right femur is broken. AHA!!! I think. I'm not sure what this means but it is a massive clue. Somehow this confusion between left and right is the answer to it all. Then on page 269, nearly at the end, Wallender muses: "Somewhere there's something I'm not seeing, he thought. A connection, a detail, which is exacxtly the key I have to turn. But should I turn it to the right or the left?" Obviously this is the thought that will lead Wallender to crack the mystery.

It didn't. The answer to the mystery has NOTHING to do with the left thigh and the right femur. I can only presume that this was a MISTAKE.

A page turner but disappointing at the end.

June 2010; 298 pages

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