søndag den 24. januar 2010

Henning Mankell, Mordere uden ansigt (1992)

Denne krimi er ikke Mankells debut, men den første i Kurt Wallander-serien.

Hesten, som ikke vrinsker om natten, vækker en gammel landmand i Skåne. Han står ud af sengen, og i vinterkulden bevæger han sig over til nabogården for at undersøge, hvad der er på færde. Naboen er allerede død, og konen sidder bundet til en stol på gulvet.

En nyskilt Kurt Wallander bliver vækket i Nystad og kaldt ud til gerningsstedet. Han og de andre betjente bliver mødt af et regulært blodbad, hvor der er anvendt langt mere vold end nødvendigt for at pacificere det ældre ægtepar, men kvinden er trods alt i live endnu.

Hurtigt opstår der rygter om, at mordet er begået af en flygtning fra den nærliggende lejr, så et gennemgående tema i bogen er det ulmende fremmedhad, der kendetegnede Skandinavien i 1990erne. Racisterne venter ikke på beviser men er mere end parate til at udøve selvtægt – for en sikkerheds skyld.

Wallander knokler nærmest nat og dag, samtidig med at han forsøger at komme talefod med sin kone, sin noget specielle far, og nittenårige Linda, som har et selvmordsforsøg bag sig og kun en skrøbelig forbindelse til sine forældre.

Mankell tegner personerne og miljøet med sikker hånd, og plottet skrider hurtigt fremad. En imponerende start på en forrygende krimiserie.

Jeg har selv købt bogen.

Henning Mankell, Faceless Killers (1991)

This crime novel is not Mankell´s debut, but the first in the Kurt Wallander series.

The horse which did not neigh during the night wakes up an old farmer outside Nystad. He gets out of his bed in the winter cold to check what is going on. His neighbour is already dead, and his unconscious wife is tied to a chair on the floor.

A newly divorced Kurt Wallander is woken by the phone and called to the scene of crime. He and the other policemen find a regular massacre where the criminals have used far more violence than necessary to pacify the elderly couple.

Soon rumours will have it that the murders may have been committed by refugees from the nearby camp, so a recurrent theme of the novel is the smouldering xenophopia that characterized Scandinavia of the 1990s. The racists do not wait for evidence but are more than ready to take the law in their own hands – just in case.

Wallander plods away day and night, while he tries to get on speaking terms with his wife, his somewhat eccentric father and nineteen-year-old Linda who has a suicide attempt behind her.
Mankell portrays the characters and the environment competently, and the plot moves moves ahead at a great pace. An impressive start of a tremendous police procedural series.

I bought this book myself.

13 kommentarer:

Jose Ignacio Escribano sagde ...

Dorte, hope you are feeling better today.
I got Mankell right (he divides his time between Sweden and Mozambique, and there they speak Portuguese). But I thought the quote was from The Man Who Smiled, in stead of Faceless Killers.

Louise sagde ...

I know it may be hard to believe, but I have yet to read a Wallander book :-) I can't stand books with the xenophobian "movement" in Scandinavia as a central theme, so while I accept that this book is an older one written during a time where such a theme must have resonated more, I think I'll pass. I do want to read some Wallander though.

Dorte H sagde ...

Jose: thank you. My head is not perfect, but better.
And though you didn´t get the book right, your clue was terrific. I didn´t know at all, but I checked that it was right.

Louise: he is good, but he is not my favourite either. Mankell´s books are a bit more hardboiled than Nesbø and Nesser´s.

Elizabeth Spann Craig sagde ...

This sounds great! I haven't read an early Wallander book, so didn't know his daughter's fragile past...when I picked up with it, she was a young adult who seemed to have everything pulled together.

Thanks for the tip!

Mystery Writing is Murder
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

Anonym sagde ...

Dorte - Thanks for this review. This is a solid introduction to the series, isn't it? I am so glad, by the way, that you are feeling well enough to post today. I hope that means that you're on the road to recovery.

Dorte H sagde ...

Elizabeth: I must have read this about Linda before, but I didn´t remember either. As you say, she does not strike you as a very fragile person later.

Margot: yes, a fantastic ´first´.
And thank you, I am feeling better. Not quite there, but better.

R/T sagde ...

Dorte, do you have plans to read Mankell's newest: THE MAN FROM BEIJING? I have a review copy sitting on my bookshelf but lack the motivation to open it. Do you suppose I'm missing out on something by not reading Mankell? I confess that the television version of the Wallander books (with Kenneth Brannagh), which I thought was awful, mitigated against reading the books.

R/T sagde ...

CORRECTION: The word should have been "militated" rather than "mitigated."

Dorte H sagde ...

RT: I have just skimmed a Danish and an English review of the book which is called ´The Chinese´ in Danish. 19 people slaughtered and maltreated - I suspect I am going to skip this one.

The Wallander series has several strong points, though. I like Kurt Wallander (great investigator but not good at keeping up human relations - you know the type), and Mankell is good at plotting and keeping up the pace of his police procedurals.

On the whole, they are a bit hardboiled for my taste, though, and like Sjöwall and Wahlöö, Mankell depicts a quite depressing Swedish society.

Dorte H sagde ...

Oh, I didn´t even notice ´mitigated´ - my little grey cells are not in full swing yet.

I don´t think Kenneth Branagh is Kurt Wallander at all. Wallander is rather good at leading and delegating the work. I haven´t seen much of Branagh, but several of my British friends agree that Branagh steals the scene all the time.

Uriah Robinson sagde ...

The BBC are inclined to overproduce and become infatuated with clever camera work rather than telling the story. This happens in many of their programs. Kenneth Branagh, by all accounts, had not watched the Swedish versions and it showed. I agree the BBC TV version was fairly awful, and what was worrying considering how much these people are paid no one pointed out the failings after the first series. Winning a BAFTA apparently blinded them to the fact that half the cast were overawed by being in the same program as Branagh.
In the first series Branagh dominated, in the second series it was a one man show and the BBC could have economised on the rest of the cast.

pattinase (abbott) sagde ...

Love Wallender. This one is on my shelves but unread yet.

Dorte H sagde ...

Norman: well, I like many BBC programs, but we do agree on this one.

Patti: if you love him already, you should certainly enjoy this one. It does not taste like a debut.