Friday, May 16, 2008

Everything I Consume: The White Lioness

I used to belong to a writer's group where everyone loved Henning Mankell. I like the guy but I always have the same reaction to his books. I start them and I'm totally hooked and make a mental note to ask for his next book on, then I start to lose interest, then I want it to end soon and then I enjoy the ending and think it was a decent read. About a year later I pick up another one. That was the reaction I had to this book. It's a little different from the earlier books in the series (I recommend Dogs of Riga if you've never read Mankell) in that it switches between various characters and is more of a thriller than a mystery after the opening murder is explained.

The detective, Kurt Wallander is unusual for a few reasons. He is a detective in the small Swedish city of Ystad. Unlike a lot of modern writers who saddle their detectives with all manner of tragedy and handicaps Kurt is merely divorced, drinks a little too much, weighs a little too much and has a difficult but not impossible relationship with his father and daughter. It's not ideal but I think we can relate.

Wallander also seems to take longer to solve his cases than any other detective I've ever read. His cases take weeks if not months to resolve themselves. This book is about two months in book time from start to finish but I know some of his earlier cases took even longer. I find that endearing for some reason.

1 comment:

Ted said...

I just saw this book at the corner charity shop--never too big of an English book selection. I passed on it and opted for Auster's Moon Palace instead (it was 50 Euro cents cheaper and a cooler older British Penguin pb)