It is a great loss to all of us to learn of the passing of Henning Mankell on October 5 in Goteborg, Sweden at the young age of 67. The author was less than 3 years ago diagnosed with lung and throat cancer, and unfortunately all the great Western medicine couldn’t save him, which saddens me greatly.
Henning Mankell will be always remembered not only by his family and friends, but also by his loyal readers. Having been read by millions of people worldwide, the Henning Mankell’s books have been translated in over 40 languages, with over 40 million copies sold to date.
While the author wrote many other books and plays, the Wallander series is his best known and most popular series, loved by mystery readers around the world. The series has been adapted to TV with a series called “Wallander,” starring Kenneth Branagh.
The first Wallander book to be translated and published in the US was Faceless Killers in 1997. This book took the whole mystery novels world by storm and soon everyone had a new favorite sleuth to follow.
With a total of 11 books written, the Kurt Wallanger series ends for all of us with The Troubled Man, published in 2009 and translated in English in 2011.
I started reading the Kurt Wallander series after reading the Millenium series by Steig Larsson. Suddenly I got hooked on Scandinavian crime mystery books and reaching for the Wallander series was a natural development following my new favorite genre. I was not disappointed. As much as I enjoyed the Dragon Tattoo books (and movies), I found Henning Mankell more to my liking. His style is somewhat less gloomy and his characters appear to me more real, more life-sized in comparison.
Kenneth Turan, a film critic for the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio’s Morning Edition as well as the director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes said about the Wallander series:
“Police work is the only constant in Wallander’s life, and it’s here that he’s a master. Though an investigator of formidable instinct and intuition, his real advantage is his painstaking doggedness, his willingness to sift and resift evidence until it speaks to him. It’s not so much a search for a key, Mankell explains, but rather a “hunting for the slightest sound of a distant tinkling from a bunch of keys.”
The author’s friend and colleague Dan Israel, at Leopard said:
“His work was so infinitely greater than just being a crime writer. He wrote plays, debate books, everything. He was always driven by the same burning passion to give people the tools to understand, first and foremost, their reality.”
RIP Henning Mankell, you will be greatly missed.