Faceless Killers

 

by Henning Mankell (The New Press)

 

(This column first appeared in the October 30, 2003 issue of ArtVoice of Buffalo.)

 

Kurt Wallander, Henning Mankell's detective in Faceless Killers, enjoys all the characteristics of the bulldog. He is unattractive and plodding, his social interactions are dismal, but for all this he is a likeable character and his policing skills are excellent. He is one of those fumbling but stubborn and hard-working individual coppers who eventually make progress in the certainly endless fight against crime around the world. Here, despite his personal problems -- a broken marriage and a runaway daughter, a father bordering on senility, his own weight and drinking out of hand, his awkward attempt at a new relationship rebuffed -- he remains focused on the trail of the brutal murderers of a farm couple in rural Sweden. With few clues -- an oddly knotted noose, a horse's manger recently filled with hay -- he and his colleagues follow a twisted path to a satisfying solution. Immigration policies and the Klan-like activities of Swedish ultra-nationalists add an additional murder along the way. You will come away from reading this fine police procedural with the realization that we share many problems with the Swedes.-- Gerry Rising