> Skip to content

The final Kurt Wallander Mystery - and the first new Wallander novel for a decade

On a winter’s day in 2008 Håkan von Enke, a retired high-ranking naval officer, disappears during his daily morning walk in the Liljan-forest near Stockholm. He has recently celebrated his 75th birthday.

To Kurt Wallander this becomes a highly personal case. Enke is Linda Wallander’s father-in-law and the grandfather of her baby daughter.

Although the investigation is handled by the Stockholm police, Wallander cannot help getting involved. When Louise von Enke,Håkan’s wife, also disappears under mysterious circumstances, Wallander’s involvement becomes serious.

Some clues point to the past, to the time of the Cold War, to right-wing extreme groups, and tohired killers from the old Eastern Europe. In particular, certain events at the beginning of the eighties, when Sovjet submarines on numerous occasions were accused of violating Swedish terrritory, play an important part.

It occurs to Wallander that he may be on to a huge secret which involves espionage and the whole of Swedish postwar history.

The series of events and complications are increasingly hard for him to comprehend.

At the same time an even darker cloud appears on the horizon...

Reviews

A magnificent finale, it's to be hoped that Mankell may be persuaded to revive his grumpy Nordic inspector, complete with his stomach cramps, failing eyesight and Ikea furniture. He is far too good to lose

Financial Times

A perfect valedictory novel...this is Mankell at his best

Barry Forshaw, Daily Express

Mankell is undoubtedly a skilled writer with plenty of breadth, but it's clear that his subtleties of character, plot and pace achieve greatest expression in the Wallander series

James Urquhart, Independent on Sunday

It's a fine finale for the fretful policeman and it's hard not to feel you'll miss the old bugger

Siobhan Murphy, Metro

It's sparse, poignant and a fitting swan song for one of literature's truly great detectives

Shortlist

A novel that works on a number of levels: as a compelling investigation into a Swedish cold-war spy ring, a philosophical assessment of policing and its social function, and a very personal evaluation of a person's worth in the grand scheme of things...Written in Mankell's downbeat style (beautifully translated by Laurie Thompson) it has a fatalistic tone that is entirely fitting for the final testimony of one of crime fiction's great protagonists...a hugely satisfying novel that ranks alongside Mankell's best, a heartbreaking tale of descent into despair and darkness that serves as a totem for what great crime writing can achieve

Declan Burke, Irish Times

So The Troubled Man delivers in full as a whodunnit, as all the Wallander books do, beneath their impassive surface...The Troubled Man is a sorrowful - how can it not be? - but fully satisfying conclusion to a great series. No Mankell reader will think of missing it.

David Sexton, Scotsman

Unlike Larsson...Mankell's characters are complex and nuanced...The retirement of the terse, divorced, heavy-drinking Wallander is as significant as the retirement of the terse, divorced, heavy drinking John Rebus. This bleak, moving and gripping finale marks the perfect end to a brilliant career

David Stenhouse, Scotland on Sunday

To his fans this valediction will be greeted with sadness but it is also deserves applause, if only for the considerable services rendered

David Connett, Express

A fine finale for Mankell's fretful Swedish policeman, Hurt Wallander, and as the shadows close over him for the last time, it's hard not to feel you'll miss the old bugger.

Metro

Written in Mankell's downbeat style (beautifully translated by Laurie Thompson), it has a fatalistic tone that is entirely fitting for the final testimony of one of crime fiction's great protagonists. The result is a hugely satisfying novel that ranks alongside Mankell's best, a heartbreaking tale of descent into despair and darkness that serves as a totem for what great crime writing can achieve.

Declan Burke, Irish Times

Mankell is a category one writer in every respect.

Observer

This fine mystery, a fitting way to bid farewell to the wonderful Kurt Wallander, brings the frisson of old-world spy intrigue satisfyingly together with old-fashioned detective work...The detective work is painstaking, clever and fascinating as always

Time Out

The mystery element is well crafted here, but of secondary importance: Mankell, and we, are more concerned with seeing how Wallander is facing up to the indignities of old age...As this novel closes, Wallander seems more than ever a symbol of Sweden's struggle with its place in the world.

Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph

An eloquent, moving and fitting farewell to one of fiction's greatest detectives.

Janet Malcolm, The Times

The final paragraph, which reveals Wallander's eventual fate, is heartbreaking.

Julia Handford, Daily Telegraph

This is a fascinating book, beautifully written (and translated)

Literary Review

The Troubled Man is a moving portrait of a man entering old age.

Tom Shippey, Times Literary Supplement

If he stops now, this is a fitting conclusion. Moving with wonderfully sparse language, it is a magisterial march towards the great unknown

Big Issue Cymru

A tangled story of espionage and betrayal, with its roots in the Cold War

John Williams, Mail on Sunday

The Ystad detective's many fans won't want to miss finding out how Wallander, now in his 60s, deals with a cold-war mystery involving Soviet submarines in Swedish waters, as well as his new role as a grandparent and the spectre of his own impending dementia.

Anna Carey, Irish Times

The last Kurt Wallander novel was a fitting farewell to the fictional detective who sparked the Scandinavian noir fashion

Sunday Express

The first new Wallander book in 10 years is a bittersweet experience, as it also signals the end of our time with the sorrowful sleuth. ... it's portrayal of the inspector's mental and physical frailties that makes this an unexpectedly emotional read

Shortlist.com

But for anyone who has admired previous appearances by one of the greatest fictional detectives so far, this farewell needs to be read

The Times summer books

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099548409

    March 1, 2012

    Vintage

    512 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook

    9781448112593

    February 16, 2012

    Vintage Digital

    512 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ
  • Audio CD

    9781846573217

    April 15, 2011

    Audiobooks

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook

    9781409019459

    April 1, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    512 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ