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Home > Book, Book Review, Mystery, Reviews, Short Stories > Book Review – The Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries by Henning Mankell

Book Review – The Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries by Henning Mankell

Book Description:

At last, a key addition to the Kurt Wallander mystery series: the book of short mysteries that takes us back to the beginning. Here we meet Wallander the twenty-one-year-old patrolman on his first criminal investigation, Wallander the young father facing an unexpected danger on Christmas Eve, Wallander on the brink of middle age solving a case of poisoning, the newly separated Wallander investigating the murder of a local photographer, and Wallander the veteran detective discovering unexpected connections between a downed mystery plane and the assassination of a pair of spinster sisters. Over the course of these five mysteries, he comes into his own as a murder detective, defined by his simultaneously methodical and instinctive work, and is increasingly haunted from witnessing the worst aspects of an atomized society.

Written from the unique perspective of an author looking back upon his own creation to discover his origins, these mysteries are vintage Mankell. Essential reading for all Wallander fans, The Pyramid is also a wonderful showcase for Mankell’s powers as a writer “whose works transcend their chosen genre to become thrilling and moral literature” (Michael Ondaatje).

About the Author
Internationally bestselling novelist and playwright HENNING MANKELL has received the German Tolerance Prize and the U.K.’s Golden Dagger Award and has been nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize three times. His Kurt Wallander mysteries have been published in thirty-three countries and consistently top the bestseller lists in Europe.

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As it says in the book description quoted above: The Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries by Henning Mankell is “essential reading for all Wallander fans“. It truly is (speaking as a fan myself!) If you’ve ever wondered about Kurt Wallander’s character pre his debut in Faceless Killers: The First Kurt Wallander Mystery as a world-weary middle-aged veteran detective, well, you’ve got a precious gift from Henning Mankell!

The Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries is a collection of three short stories (Wallander’s First Case, The Man with the Mask and The Man on the Beach), a novelete (The Death of the Photographer), and a novella (The Pyramid) which span the years between 1969 (when Kurt was still a young enthusiastic beat cop in Malmo) until 1989 (Kurt in full form in a puzzling case leading directly to Faceless Killers). Hop along for the ride as we travel back in time, and watch Wallander grow into the great (if burnt-out) detective we know in the series. Along the way, Henning Mankell gives us Kurt’s back story and fills us in on the people from Kurt’s past – his ex-wife Mona (interestingly, the problems in their relationship are already evident even when they were just dating), his father (and yes, they had a rocky relationship even in the early days), his old mentor Detective Hemberg from the Malmo police force (who was the first to recognize Kurt’s gift as a detective) and his second mentor and former colleague Rydberg (the Ystad detective who we briefly met in Faceless Killers).

Even though this collection is kind of being sold as best enjoyed by fans who have followed all the books and want more insight into Kurt’s character, IMO the mysteries are interesting enough even for those who haven’t read the whole series yet. Admittedly, Wallander’s First Case and The Man with the Mask were a bit too short to be completely satisfying for me, but starting with The Man on the Beach, Henning Mankell hits his stride with some ingenious plotting. My personal favorite was The Death of the Photographer where Kurt delves into the case of a brutally murdered photographer who had a bizarre hobby. The Pyramid reads pretty much like a shorter Kurt Wallander mystery novel, and I’d actually recommend new fans to read this novella first before Faceless Killers (since he’s actually more sympathetic/likeable in The Pyramid and not yet the exhausted self-destructive mess he was in Faceless Killers).

The Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries by Henning Mankell is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition, Hardcover edition, Paperback edition and Audible Audio Edition. * Also available in Amazon UK

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

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