This collection of five stories traces the growth of Swedish Inspector Kurt Wallander into a first-rate detective, from rookie cop to young father to middle-aged divorcé, illuminating new facets of a now-canonical character.
In “Wallander’s First Case,” the twenty-one-year-old patrolman’s first homicide case involves his next-door neighbor, seemingly dead by his own hand. Wallander is a young father confronting an unexpected threat on Christmas Eve in “The Man with the Mask.” In “The Man on the Beach,” he is on the brink of middle age and troubled by a distant wife as he unravels why a lonely man was poisoned. Newly separated in “The Death of the Photographer,” he investigates the murder of the local photographer and discovers some well concealed secrets. In “The Pyramid” he is the veteran detective uncovering connections between a downed plane and the assassination of two elderly sisters. Over the course of these five stories, Wallander comes into his own as a murder detective, defined by his simultaneously methodical and instinctive work, even as he finds himself increasingly haunted from witnessing the worst aspects of an atomized society.
Written from the unique perspective of an author looking back upon his own creation to discover his origins, these mysteries are vintage Mankell and essential reading for all Wallander fans. The Pyramid is a wonderful display of Mankell’s virtuosic powers as an acknowledged master of the police procedural.