Tag Archives: BBC

The Man who Smiled by Henning Mankell

The Man who Smiled is the 4th book in the Wallander series of books by Henning Mankell (unless you are reading them chronologically, in which case it is the 5th). I’ve had this one sitting around my house for a few months, waiting for me to read it, as I am reading them in order & my OH picked it up when he saw it in Sainsburys, not knowing that there were still 2 books I needed to read before I got to this one. Now, if you read my blog with any regularity, you will know that I had conflicting feelings about this book (See here). After finishing The White Lioness (which I loved), I was really looking forward to reading The Man who Smiled, but I found myself again wishing that the cover was not what it was. (Ok, I admit it, I didn’t want people associating my reading this book with the BBC creation of Wallander – I know people who are refusing to read the books because of that dreadful series!)

Needless to say, I had to get over myself & read it (either that or give it away, I suppose) – especially as OH kept expectantly asking me if I was reading it next! Luckily, I was & I have to say – these books just get better & better!

Synopsis from the back of the book: After killing a man in the line of duty, Inspector Kurt Wallander finds himself spiralling into an alcohol-fuelled depression. He has just decided to leave the police when an old friend approaches him for help investigating his father’s suspicious death. Kurt doesn’t want to know. Against his better judgement he returns to work to head what may now have become a double murder case. Bu while Wallander is on the trail of the killer, somebody is on the trail of Wallander and closing fast.

18 months have passed since the end of The White Lioness, where Kurt ended up killing a man in the line of duty. He has since been signed off for severe depression & has spent that time drowning his depression in alcohol, holidays & women. While trying to get his life under control Wallander is visited by his friend (& solicitor) Sten Torstensson, who has come to find Wallander, to ask him to help in the investigation of his father’s death, which Sten feels certain was not an accident. Kurt turns his friend away, telling him he is no longer a policeman, that he should seek the assistance of the Ystad police.

The day that Wallander is due to go into the police station to sign his retirement papers he discovers that his friend, Sten, has been murdered – shot several times while in his office, which he had shared with his father (also a solicitor). This gets Wallander to thinking about the circumstances behind their deaths – 2 solicitors dead in a matter of weeks is a bit odd, even for Ystad. Kurt can’t help but think that something is dreadfully wrong, that he must right the wrong of turning he friend away by finding the person (or persons) responsible for his murder & the suspected murder of his father.

I flew through The Man who Smiled, even though I was only reading it on the bus to & from work. It was fast paced, full of action & I loved it! Must go buy the next one in the series!!



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I am a very bad person!

THis morning my OH went to the store to get some eggs, bacon & bread so we could have breakfast. While he was there he called me to ask whether I had Henning Mankell‘s Wallander book “The Man Who Smiled” . I said I didn’t, knowing that he would buy it for me (he’s lovely like that!). So, when he came home we unpacked his bags & sure enough, inside was the book………………..(this is where the I am a very bad person comes in).

Thank goodness he had his back to me when I pulled the book out of his backpack, because rather than being happy, like I should have been, I wanted to tell him to take it back! And the reason for this reaction, you ask? Simple. The cover of the book was wrong! See, I told you, I am a very very bad person!

This is the cover of the one he bought: It is the BBC TV series tie in cover…….ugh. I think that the BBC ruined Wallander. Kenneth Branagh is not Wallander. Krister Henriksson is Wallander, but that is not the point. The point is that all of my other Wallander books have the non-tv series tie-in covers & like the anally retentive creature I am, I like all of my books to have matching covers…. Not to mention that I hate tie in covers on books. I will deliberately go out of my way to avoid buying books that have tie-in covers, regardless of whether I like, love or loath the show that the book cover ties into.

I don’t dare say anything because it was so lovely of him to buy it for me, but I wanted the one with this cover: that way it would match the other ones I have! I wonder if he would notice if I traded it for the one with the right cover? I am soooooo bad!!!


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The Pyramid by Henning Mankell

Purely by accident I happened to stumble on the Yellowbird Films Kurt Wallander series, which were showing on the BBC & fell in love with Wallander. I love his cantankerous spirit. I devoured every single episode & was so sad when the last one aired. Based on what I watched with Wallander (oh yeah, just as a quick aside – to me, there is only 1 Wallander & that is Krister Henrikson, not Kenneth Branagh), I had to read the books.

I decided to read The Pyramid (which was the last Wallander book published) first as it is chronologically the 1st book in the series. The Pyramid is a series of 5 short stories, starting with Kurt as a young police officer in Malmo, on his first case.  Through The Pyramid we get to see Kurt before he became the grumpy disillusioned police inspector. We get to see his relationship with his father, an artist who disapproves of Wallander’s career choice & lets him know it at every opportunity. One of the short stories sees Wallander senior in a very compromising situation in Egypt, forcing the younger Wallander to come to his rescue & providing us further in site into what made Kurt into the man he is. We are also introduced to Mona, the woman who is to become Wallander’s wife, then ex-wife, & to Linda, Wallander’s daughter.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Pyramid and I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.

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