Home > Book, Book Review, Mystery, Reviews > Book Review – Before The Frost: A Linda Wallander Mystery by Henning Mankell

Book Review – Before The Frost: A Linda Wallander Mystery by Henning Mankell

November 19, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Book Description:

Linda Wallander is bored. Just graduated from the police academy, she is waiting to start work at the Ystad police station and move into her own apartment. Meanwhile, she’s living with her father and, like fathers and daughters everywhere, they are driving each other crazy. Nor will they be able to escape each other when she moves out. Her father is Inspector Kurt Wallander, a veteran of the Ystad police force, whom she will have to work alongside.

Linda’s boredom doesn’t last long. Soon she is embroiled in the case of her childhood friend, Anna, who has inexplicably disappeared. As the investigation proceeds, she makes a few rookie mistakes. They are understandable, but they are also life-threatening. And as the case her father is working on dovetails with her own, something far more calculated and dangerous than either could have imagined begins to emerge.

Already an international bestseller, Before the Frost inaugurates Henning Mankell’s new mystery series about Linda Wallander, and features Stefan Lindman of The Return of the Dancing Master.


As a reader of the Kurt Wallander mysteries, I’ve been privy to Kurt’s daughter Linda’s awkward growing up years. From being the angst-filled rebellious teenager who left home as soon as she could, to all the aimless years afterwards just drifting along – traveling or “acting” or learning to build furniture – until in the book Firewall, Linda finally decided what to do with the rest of her life (i.e. be a policeman like dad). I was under the impression after Firewall that Linda had finally developed some maturity, but damn, Before The Frost: A Linda Wallander Mystery sure showed me differently! Henning Mankell couldn’t have written a more unlikable character if he’d tried – and then some.

Lord help Linda’s future colleagues because she sure is one spoilt diva of a police cadet – from accusing her dad of not pulling enough strings so she could start working early at the Ystad station, to having temper tantrums like a three-year-old at 30 years of age (i.e. hitting her dad in the face with an ash tray!)  I hated her entitled insecure ass so, so much – it was a total chore to finish the book. I wanted to chuck it, but there’s just one book left in the series and I’m a completest at heart. It’s a good thing there’s just one Linda Wallander Mystery (thankfully, Henning Mankell went back to Kurt as the main character in the last book in the Wallander series) since I can’t imagine anyone going back for seconds with this character.

As for the plot – it just made no sense to me. I was trying to condense it neatly in some way, but it’s such a hot mess, really. There’s a bunch of animals which are found set on fire, there’s a dismembered murder victim, there’s a secret group of religious fundamentalists, and then, there’s Linda who (in between constantly losing her temper at her dad and falling in love for no discernible reason with a virtual stranger) has the good fortune of just stumbling onto one big clue after another (in as risky and stupid way as possible) in her solo search for her missing(?) childhood friend Anna. It’s all very melodramatic and quite unrealistic, and have I mentioned already how odious I found Linda to be? 😉

I know Henning Mankell is a better writer than this, so I’ll just dust this off as an experiment that failed and I’ll be expecting more with the Kurt Wallander mysteries finale The Troubled Man.

Before The Frost: A Linda Wallander Mystery by Henning Mankell is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition, Paperback edition and Audible Audio Edition. * Also available in Amazon UK

The eBook is also available at Barnes & Noble, Kobo books, Sony ebookstore and the Apple iBookstore.

For a second opinion – here’s some reviews of Before The Frost by other bloggers:

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