The #1 international-bestselling tale of greed, violence, and corporate power from the master of Scandinavian noir: “One of his best” (The Times, London).
After killing a man in the line of duty, Inspector Kurt Wallander finds himself deep in a personal and professional crisis; during more than a year of sick leave, he turns to drink and vice to quiet his lingering demons. Once he pulls himself together, he vows to quit the Ystad police force for good—just before a friend who had asked Wallander to look into the death of his father winds up dead himself, shot three times.
Far from leaving police work behind, Wallander instead must investigate a formidable suspect: a powerful business tycoon at the helm of a multinational company engaged in extralegal activities. Ann-Britt Höglund, the department’s first female detective, proves to be Wallander’s best ally as he tries to pierce the smiling façade of the suspicious mogul. But just as he comes close to uncovering the truth, Wallander finds his own life being threatened.
In this “exquisitely plotted” thriller, Henning Mankell’s mastery of the modern police procedural—which has earned him legions of fans worldwide and inspired the BBC show Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh—is on vivid display (Publishers Weekly).
“This is crime fiction of the highest order.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Compelling . . . Skillfully plotted and suspenseful. . . . A thriller for the thinking reader.”
—The Dallas Morning News
“Mankell’s novels are a joy.” —USA Today
“Absorbing. . . . In the masterly manner of P.D. James, Mankell projects his hero’s brooding thoughts onto nature itself.” —The New York Times
“Wallander is a loveable gumshoe. . . . He is one of the most credible creations in contemporary crime fiction.” —The Guardian
First published in Sweden in 1994, Mankell's terrific fourth Kurt Wallender mystery opens with the kind of startling image typical of this internationally bestselling series (Firewall, etc.): a lawyer, driving home through the fog, stops after he sees "a human-sized effigy" propped on a chair in the middle of a deserted highway. Gustaf Torstensson gets out of the car to investigate, is hit from behind and was "dead before his body hit the damp asphalt." The police accept the assailant's claim that it was an accident, but when Torstensson's son, Sten, is shot dead just two weeks later, the brooding Wallender, who's on sick leave and vowing to retire from the Ystad police force, decides to pursue the killer and resume his career. The chief suspect a powerful, globe-trotting Swedish businessman who's the smiling man of the title leads Wallender on an exquisitely plotted search for motive and evidence. Dark and moody, this is crime fiction of the highest order.
The Man Who Smiled
I enjoyed reading this book so much. Kurt is one of my favorite detectives! He has personal problems with his artist father, who seems unstable and difficult. He is divorced but still misses his wife and daughter. He is devoted to his job, and is really good at it. He shows such humility, vulnerability, and empathy, but often goes off on his own at great risk to himself. He is very likable and relatable. The stories are always very good, often keeping me up to finish reading and to find out the conclusion.
The book is outstanding. It is an entertaining thriller. The test of this edition is riddled with typos and missing words. The number of blank spots where words are missing was significant.