It is Midsummer's Eve, three young friends gather in a wood. In the still-sunlit, Scandanavian dusk, they don costumes joyfully to enact - or so it appears to an unseen observer - a kind of masque. The hidden watcher soon brings their performance to an end. His approach is careful; his aim is perfect - three bullets, three corpses. The murderer, ...
It is Midsummer's Eve, three young friends gather in a wood. In the still-sunlit, Scandanavian dusk, they don costumes joyfully to enact - or so it appears to an unseen observer - a kind of masque. The hidden watcher soon brings their performance to an end. His approach is careful; his aim is perfect - three bullets, three corpses. The murderer, then, carefully photographs the grisly tableau. The Ystad police station, meanwhile, is experiencing a summer lull, indeed Inspector Wallander is at last at liberty to attend to - albeit reluctantly - his deteriorating health, but his peace of mind is shattered when one of his colleagues is murdered. An unknown killer, seen by no-one, is on the loose, and the police's only lead is a photograph of three dead young people in costume. Forced to dig more deeply than he would have wanted into the personal life of one of his colleagues, Wallander's investigation reveals something none of his team could ever have imagined. However, they remain tantalisingly, terrifyingly one step behind the lethal progress of a killer Wallander would have to suppose was deranged if his methods were not so meticulous and his victims so clinically targeted.
never disappointed in Mankell! look forward to other books by him!
Jul 25, 2008
Henning Mankell books are always great! The entire Kurt Wallander series is wonderful, and well worth reading. I only just discovered him, and my husband and I are both reading the entire series. A police detective with amazing powers of observation and patience. I think reading the books is giving me a new perspective on how to pay attention to things around me in a way I am unused to doing. We love them!
Apr 3, 2007
Another Winner in the Swedish Police Procedural
"One Step Behind" is one of the books in the Inspector Kurt Wallander series but, to be honest, because the English translations of this series have been released out of order of original publication, I haven't a clue where it belongs in the ongoing story. Having read all the books released thus far, I will say it is one of the later entries in this excellent Swedish police procedural.
This is the story of the search for a serial killer who has not only coldly murdered a number of young people but one of Kurt's police comrades. It is a finite police procedural and not for someone who is looking for a page turner. Wallander and his crew endlessly go over each clue looking for a break in the case. At times I found this rather annoying and wanted to scream...."I know, I know...let's move on." In retrospect, I believe that in "One Step Behind," Mankell's aim was to give us an insight into how much work goes into a police investigation. To see Wallander pore over each lead and get into his mind as he struggles to make sense of a senseless series of murders is the joy of this book.
In this book, we don't get to see as much of Kurt's angst as we have in the earlier books. He has put his personal problems on the side for the duration of the investigation and his only goal is to find the killer before he strikes again.
Unlike most of Mankell's other books, there was a minimum of violence and no gruesome murder scenes. Kurt seems to have mellowed out and so has Mankell's writing.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-01-21 In his fifth U.S. appearance in this taut, intricately plotted series (The Fifth Woman, etc.), Swedish detective Kurt Wallander pursues a long, complex case sure to please those who like weighty police procedurals. Six weeks after three college students are murdered during a Midsummer's Eve party, their bodies hidden to prevent discovery, Wallander's secretive colleague Svedberg is found at home with half his head blown off. Wallander's persistent, occasionally brilliant, investigation points to a connection between Svedberg and the disappearance of the three young people. Soon after their bodies surface, a fourth friend, who was too sick to attend the party, is killed. More murders follow, with the exhausted, understaffed detectives just too late each time to prevent the next crime. Eventually the reader meets the killer, whose bizarre motive and methods the author gradually reveals. The dyspeptic Wallander, whose frazzled personal life is further impaired by the diabetes he ignores, works himself to exhaustion, sidestepping official procedure and making intuitive leaps to find the cold-blooded killer. The glum tone of the book, despite the setting during a warm and luxuriant late summer, reflects a crumbling Swedish society: government corruption is widespread; honest cops are disillusioned by abuses in high officialdom; rifts among social classes and between Swedes and recent immigrants abound. Mankell's writing is deadpan and stark, the plotting meticulous and exacting. (Feb. 28) Forecast: Though a bestseller in Europe with both film and TV adaptations to his credit, Mankell has so far failed to take off here. Alas, Scandinavian dreariness just doesn't seem to have broad appeal to American readers. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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