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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell

The Man from Beijing is a stand-alone, not a Kurt Wallander mystery.  I didn't realize that when I checked it out. 

A mass murder almost entirely wipes out a small, isolated farming village populated by mostly elderly people who are related.  There are 19 bodies, and the police assume a mad man had run amuck.

Brigitta Roslin, a district judge, realizes that among the victims are her mother's foster parents, and her curiosity demands  further information.  Using an old diary, she believes that there is a Chinese connection to the murders.  The first of the novel is involving.

However, as the narrative continues, the plot becomes first dull and then pedantic.  The admiration for Chairman Mao bothered me.  The connections between Sweden, America, Africa,and China seemed forced and a bit off-the-wall.

I was hoping for a Kurt Wallander procedural, not political digressions.

Fiction.  Mystery/Crime.  2010.  367 pages.

4 comments:

Literary Feline said...

A friend keeps pushing me to read this one, but I haven't gotten around to it. I can see I'd be best off trying the Kurt Wallander series.

jenclair said...

I like the Wallander books better, but some people loved this one. :)

Chancy said...

I checked this one ("Man From Beijing" ) out from the library but I also came home with "Sidetracked" one of the Kurt Wallander mysteries. I did not read "Man From Beijing" I am Throughly hooked on the Wallander series now after reading "Sidetracked" Almost finished with "Before The Frost" featuring Wallander's Daughter, Linda who is becoming a police inspector herself.
I like the way Mankell paints vivid pictures of the surrounding country side of Sweden without becoming boring and wordy as some of the English mystery writers do. Elizabeth George? etc.

I enjoy your reviews and I get idea of books to read from them

Thanks

jenclair said...

I'm glad you discovered the Wallender series. You made the right choice in reading Sidetracked first! If you'd read Beijing first, you might not have had a good idea of Mankell's ability.