Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Troubled Man-Henning Mankell

The Troubled Man
Henning Mankell
Knopf, Mar 28 2011, $26.95
ISBN: 9780307593498

In 2008 Sweden at Hakan von Enke’s seventy fifth birthday party the disturbed former Swedish naval commander tells Kurt Wallander about a 1980 incident he was involved in. His crew found an unidentified submarine in Swedish territorial waters, but when he reported it to his superiors while preparing to force the sub to surface, he was told to back away.

Soon after the septuagenarian tells his tale, he and his wife vanish. Although suffering from diabetes and memory lapses, and euphoric over the birth of his grandchild, sexagenarian Ystad Police Detective Wallander investigates what happened in the last few days to the parents of his daughter’s mate and back during the height of the Cold War.

Wallander is at his crusty best with a case that goes nowhere and with age aches reminding him of his mortality as he fears death making him The Troubled Man; as ironically also is von Enke over the 1980 incident. The mystery is top rate as always in this super Swedish police procedural as the hero sees his detecting days nearly over with the family torch going to his police officer daughter. However, he refuses to quit on an inquiry involving his future in-laws as the Cold War echoes two decades after it ended in wintry cold Sweden.

Harriet Klausner

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