Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

Everyone is reading Scandinavian thrillers at the moment and the question to be asked is, what do you read after reading Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy? My mother is reading Jo Nesbo (and thoroughly enjoying it), so I decided to try Henning Mankell.

Faceless Killersis the first of the Inspector Kurt Wallander mysteries, set in the quiet Ystad area of Sweden (my Swedish geography is not the best, but that’s away from Stockholm). In a quiet, rural area, an elderly man is brutally murdered and his wife is beaten and tortured to death. All the police have to go on is the word ‘foreigner’. Cue attacks on refugee camps and other baffling issues and the police have very little to work on. (This book is set in the early 1990s, before mobile phones and internet so the detective work appears much more time consuming).

Of course, with many detective fiction books there comes problems in the detective’s personal life and Wallander is no exception. Recently divorced with a daughter that wants little to do with him and a father heading towards dementia, Wallander has many problems. Not to mention drinking and driving and then being caught by his colleagues…

The writing is sparse but effective, the plot tight and clever. A short read, but a very good one that left me thinking after what a great storyteller Mankell is. It’s certainly different to Stieg Larsson in that there’s less detail and no mention of Ikea, but the twists and turns are just as good.

Read it if: you enjoy well-written detective novels with good twists.

8 out of 10.

8 thoughts on “Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

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  1. Just read Mankell’s book “The Man From Beijing” a couple of months ago and was underwhelmed. It seems like many of his other books have better reviews then that one – I may have to give him another chance 🙂

  2. It’s interesting that you’re reading Henning Mankell. I just finished a novel by Jo Nesbo not too long ago, and right now I’m reading Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen. These are supposed to be the new, up-and-coming Scandinavian authors. The craze rather baffles me, but I’ll go along with a good thriller any day. And any of them are better than Steig in my opinion.

  3. Mankell is very popular with the mystery readers in our used bookshop. As soon as one comes in, it goes out…from your review, I can see why 🙂

  4. I read Woman With Birthmark by Hakan Nasser last year, also set in the time before the internet and mobile phones and I found it so dated, and so much like good police work is 50% luck and chance. I’ve got a copy of Faceless Killers on my TBR shelf but haven’t picked it up yet, mostly because I’m worried about the story being dated, but your review has made me think that this might be of a better quality and a good, quick read.

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