The Kurt Wallender tales present a high bar for Swedish mystery writers

Kurt Wallender stories: The Pyramid by Henning Mankell

First (at least in my consciousness) there were the ten Martin Beck police procedurals of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, published from 1965 to 1975. Now we flock to bookstores and movie theaters to enter the world of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomqvist, who sprang from the mind of the late Stieg Larsson in the captivating form of the Millennium Trilogy.

In between there was Kurt Wallender, the moody small-town police inspector created by another masterful Swedish writer, Henning Mankell. Wallender made his first appearance (in English) in 1997 in the novel Faceless Killers. Wallender lived on through seven other novels, the last of which, Firewall, appeared in English translation in 2002. (An eighth, and reportedly last, Wallender novel is due in 2011 under the title The Troubled Man.) The series has won numerous awards and gained a large audience in the English-speaking world — deservedly so, in my opinion.


The Pyramid and Four Other Kurt Wallender Mysteries by Henning Mankell @@@@ (4 out of 5)


The Pyramid is something of an afterthought but no less worth reading than the Wallender novels. It’s a collection of five stories that span the time from Wallender’s rookie year on the police force until the period when, a mature and respected inspector, the crimes detailed in Faceless Killers took place. As he ages from his early 20s to his 50s, Wallender grows increasingly morose in the face of his dysfunctional family relationships and the senseless crimes he is called upon to solve.  The Pyramid lays bare the roots of his problems. For any Kurt Wallender fan, it’s well worth reading.

About the author

Henning Mankell was a serious writer. (He died in 2015.) Like Sjowall, Wahloo, and Larsson, he was a man of the Left, and his writing explores the changes in Swedish society that have come about under the impact of drugs, immigration, and the newly competitive political environment which has brought conservatives as well as socialists into power.

For additional reading

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Udita Chatterjee - 10 years ago

Scandinavian Crime Novels are simply wonderful to read and it makes you want more and more of the thrill.

Which reviews do you read? | Mal Warwick's Blog on Books - 8 years ago

[…] The Pyramid and Four Other Kurt Wallender Mysteries, by Henning Mankell.  […]

Nazis in Norway, a mysterious assassin, and an insubordinate detective | Mal Warwick's Blog on Books - 8 years ago

[…] Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I’ve also reviewed Mankell’s The Man from Beijing, The Pyramid and Four Other Kurt Wallender Mysteries, and The Troubled Man, the last of the Kurt Wallander novels. (The titles are linked to my […]

My most-visited reviews | Mal Warwick's Blog on Books - 8 years ago

[…] 3. A review of The Pyramid and Four Other Kurt Wallender Mysteries, by Henning Mankell. A collection of five stories that span the time from Swedish detective Kurt Wallender’s rookie year on the police force to his retirement decades later. The Pyramid lays bare the roots of his many, complex psychological problems. For any Kurt Wallender fan, it’s well worth reading. […]

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