Sometimes I just feel the need to curl up with a good mystery and after being recently let down by Her Fearful Symmetry, I craved for a good one. Luckily, I spied the new Kurt Wallander book, the Pyramid, at a bookstore this week. I actually have a thing for Swedish detectives and Swedish mysteries. If written well, they can be fun and quite gripping and I love that they're set in the lonely, harsh and cold Scandinavian landscape. A setting that's somehow so appropriate for terrifying murders and a hardened policeman.
Kurt Wallander is my favourite Swedish detective and is the creation of Swedish author Henning Mankell. There are ten books in the series and all of them are good. They've been translated into 40 languages and there's now a BBC series starring Kenneth Branagh. Before the Frost was the last one I read and that was over five years ago. I didn't think it would be the last but it seemed Mankell grew tired of penning mystery novels and decided to write books about Africa instead. Quite a change! Fans were disappointed and begging for more but it appeared that there wouldn't be new books in the series. Recently, he surprised us all with the publication of the Pyramid which is a short story collection of the first cases of Wallander before he became an inspector. Most of these stories were written by Mankell prior to writing the full-length novels and a few have already been published in newspapers.
Revisiting a favourite character after so many years is always fun and though they're short stories Mankell doesn't disappoint. Mankell recently mentioned that there will be a final Wallander book released later this year. "It's the last time," Mankell says. "When you read it, you will understand. It doesn't mean that he (Wallander) dies – he doesn't die – but you will understand it's not possible to write any more about him."
If you're not familiar with Mankell and you love mysteries or police procedurals then I highly recommend the Wallander mysteries. They are all set in the Swedish state of Ystad. Wallander is the divorced, middle-aged, opera loving detective who solves shocking and at times gruesome murders together with his police team. What I especially love about this series is that you're with the team every step of the way and not in the mind of some killer. You don't have to start with the first novel. My first was actually the seventh book in the series, the Fifth Woman and it's still my favourite.