Saturday, October 2, 2010

Stieg Larsson to Henning Mankell

If you are a fan of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy ("The Girl who..."), you might want to try Henning Mankell's Inspector Kurt Wallender mystery series.

While Mankell's books do not deal crusading journalists, computer hackers or corrupt national agencies and corporations, his books are based in contemporary Sweden, where Inspector Kurt Wallender tries to make sense out of the changes he sees in Swedish society over his long police career: What's happening in Sweden that causes senseless, violent crime to occur? How does this affect Wallender as his career advances?

To get a quick taste of whether or not you will enjoy Mankell's dark fictional world, check out the PBS Mystery series starting October 3.

Kenneth Branagh plays Kurt Wallender in the first Kurt Wallender mystery, Faceless Killers. This is followed by two more Wallender mysteries: The Man Who Smiled and The Fifth Woman.

They are dense, psychologically taut mysteries, but if you liked Larsson, you just may love Mankell too. I do!

Reading Tip: While you don't have to read the series in strict order, it does help if you start with the early books first. (Although I recommend saving the very first book, The Pyramid, a collection of short stories that Mankell published after he 'completed' the Wallender series, until much later. It's really for Wallender addicts. For more information, visit the great Inspector Wallender web site at There's a great timeline and series reading guide available.