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The Man Who Smiled (Kurt Wallander #4)

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  14,055 Ratings  ·  613 Reviews
"The Man Who Smiled" begins with Wallander deep in a personal and professional crisis after killing a man in the line of duty; eventually, he vows to quit the Ystad police force for good. Just then, however, a friend who had asked Wallander to look into the death of his father winds up dead himself, shot three times. Ann-Britt Hoglund, the department's first fem
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by New Press, The (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

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Aug 17, 2011 Don rated it it was ok
This is my second book in this police procedural series, set in a small city in southern Sweden. I found this less than fully compelling. Here are some of my problems with the book:

1. The pacing is slow, and the book bogs down a bit in the middle.

2. The mystery at the heart of the book is suspected financial crime by the principal of a large and secretive complex of businesses. The murder of several people, and the attempted murder of a couple of others, trigger the police investigation and appa
Book Review

The second review of two crime novels whose titles hint at laughter and joy, Mankell's novel The Man Who Smiled is in my opinion the best to date in the Wallander series. In the first review, we discovered the significance of how morose Martin Beck finally came to emit a burst of laughter in the last paragraph of that novel: The Laughing Policeman. I find this significant. Let's face it: laughter, joy, humor, these are not exactly the words I would describe as pertinent to Nordic crim
Dec 07, 2011 Melissa rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Oakes
The Man Who Smiled is number four in the Wallander series, picking up some time after Wallander's experiences in book 3, The White Lioness. As book four opens, Wallander is still on sick leave, and has made the decision during a period of incredibly intense depression that he will not be continuing on in his career as a policeman. But all of that changes when a friend seeks him out to ask him for help regarding the case of his father's death. The police had ruled it a car accident, but the ...more
Sep 20, 2012 Karmen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pbs-received, ebay
Wonderful book. Presenting truly how police work impacts a man's psyche. The shooting, though justifiable, weighs heavily on Kurt. A year has passed and he is resolved, after 25 years service, to retire from the police force.

During a visit to Denmark, he is visited by Sten Torstensson, an old friend, now practicing lawyer in his father's firm. His father had been recently found dead in an "accident". Kurt declines his request to investigate the matter deeper.

Returning to Sweden, he finds an obit
There are many book related things I could say about the fourth Wallander installment -- The Man Who Smiled. Stuff about the excellent introduction of Ann-Britt Höglund and Wallander as a character and the breakneck pace and the way the BBC adaptation of this differed in good ways and bad. But reading this particular book led me to a realization, and I'd rather talk about that.

I have often wondered why, even though I am compelled to read detective fiction -- which at its best still tends to see
Ubik 2.0
Apr 28, 2015 Ubik 2.0 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-e-book
Astenersi amanti del thriller mozzafiato.

Leggendo i non pochi commenti negativi a “L’uomo che sorrideva” è doveroso sgombrare immediatamente il campo da un equivoco: molti romanzi di Mankell, e questo in particolare, NON sono dei thriller e a ben vedere non sono neppure “gialli” finalizzati a risolvere il rebus dell’individuazione (in modo deduttivo o intuitivo) del colpevole.

Si tratta di storie che tendono a concentrarsi soprattutto sull’analisi dell’indagine, della struttura mentale e organizz
Sep 23, 2016 Dany rated it liked it
I rounded it up to 3 stars. Not my favorite one, but I still want to continue with the series.
Wallander torna al lavoro dopo un periodo profondo di crisi per la quarta indagine raccontata da Mankell. Questa volta il colpevole per l'omicidio di due avvocati è quasi ovvio, ma mancano le prove.
Più che gialli i libri di Mankell sono romanzi sulla vita, sul modo di essere degli scandinavi. Mi ha colpita una frase di Wallander riguardante il mestiere di pittore del padre:
"In quante case, su quante pareti poteva essere appeso quel quadro con o senza gallo cedrone e con un sole che non tramontav
Jun 10, 2011 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing, 2011
This is the second Kurt Wallander book I've read, and enjoyed quite a bit.
Wallander is on sick leave after accidentally killing a man on duty, walking on a beach in Denmark, when a friend of his comes to ask for help. He suspects the death of his dad was not an accident. A few days later that friend is killed, and Wallander makes his decision to return to work to find justice for his friend, to find out who killed him, and what really happened to the father of his friend. Before long, the secret
Charles Kerns
In my country of "make my day" and "bring it on," this book may be a hard start for US readers. Detective Wallander drops into a year of depression after shooting a bad guy. He is ready to quit the force, but he finally gets his mojo back and is ready to pop anyone. Happy ending.

(you get the sense the writer went through this too, maybe after being financially forced to write yet another Wallander mystery)

The book's mid-section, also, might be a hard read. In Sweden police have meeting after me
Ian Mapp
Sep 24, 2009 Ian Mapp rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime
This is a real crock of a book.

Wallander is depressed cause he shot a crim and still has relationship problems with his father - which is just layed on as a break from the investigation to show that he has problems outside work.

Is he coming back into the police after his bout with depression and hard drinking. Yes he is and on day one - he is given the case of a father and son pair of solicitors who are murdered. And he is welcomed back as a returning hero.

For a crime book - this contains no red
Mr. Gottshalk
May 25, 2015 Mr. Gottshalk rated it really liked it
Well, if I wasn't hooked on this author and his Inspector Detective Kurt Wallander I am now! It's not that the mystery is so great...I saw the villain a mile away, but didn't get the motive. It's in the thinking of what it takes to be a great cop that has me constantly thinking. You have to have instincts, the ability to work around the clock, the knack to lie when necessary to get what you need to crack a case, and the grumpiness of Wallander to see angles in a case when other cops and ...more
Feb 26, 2014 Junying rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Every time I read a Mankell book, I'm reminded why I keep picking up one of his books out of hundreds on my to-read list. I just love his stories and his writing.

I read more of Henning Mankell than any other authors, living or dead. That must have said something, right?

Now that I have read most of his books, I am going to ration myself. I want him to beat cancer and keep writing - my fingers are firmly crossed and he has my prayers, I know that he will always be one of the greatest, as well as
Aug 22, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Billy Graham
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Masterpiece Mystery
I love the gloomy, foggy, windy, damp, or bitterly cold (etc.) Swedish setting, which mirrors Kurt Wallander's depression, angst, and solitude. The unraveling of the mystery is a bit less complicated than you'd like it to be.
Thomas Strömquist
This must be included in the "Scandinavian crime"-phenomenon by the gravitational pull of others (including some of Mankell's granted). The bad guy (the smiling one) is so far from believable that it makes the book virtually unreadable. I did finish it, but I don't remember why.
Oct 04, 2016 Luana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ormai Henning Mankell è diventato, almeno per me, una garanzia: infatti, anche questo quarto volume dedicato alle indagini del mitico, ma molto tormentato, Commissario Wallander mi ha conquistato.

Ancor di più rispetto ai romanzi precedenti, Kurt Wallander è davvero il perno attorno a cui ruota tutta la vicenda: all'inizio lo troviamo in congedo, a camminare inquieto sulle spiagge spoglie della Danimarca e ancora sconvolto dai traumatici eventi raccontati nel volume precedente. In bilico sul camm
A problem that I have with almost all the Swedish novels that I read (and there seem to be quite a lot of them) is that often the language is incredibly stilted. Since I'm reading the books in English and I'm not familiar with the Swedish language, I can only assume that it is a problem with the translation, that it must be especially hard to render Swedish into English and make it flow easily over the page. Nowhere do I notice this problem more than with the books of Henning Mankell. I often ...more
Sep 28, 2016 Marshunt rated it really liked it
I'm enjoying my Wallander marathon.
Sep 03, 2015 Tiffani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2015
It's been awhile since I read one of Henning Mankell's Wallander's novels. I can't think of why it's been so long. I think I wanted to save them and not read them all at once, lest I run out too quickly. Whatever the reason was, I'm back on the Wallander train - this series is absolutely fantastic.

This one begins with a deeply depressed Kurt Wallander. He killed a man in the line of duty and even though the shooting was justified, he feels horrible that he is directly responsible for someone's d
Tori Hoeschler
Feb 04, 2010 Tori Hoeschler rated it did not like it
Ok, by my definition, this book is not a mystery. This is a book ABOUT a mystery, and unless I'm totally missing a point here, it's just not a good book at all.
Here we have a story about a detective, Kurt Wallander, who has come out of retirement to solve the mysterious death and apparent murder of two local attorneys. I'm just going to stop right here and say that the reason he goes into retirement is because he's conflicted over killing some criminal in a face off I assume took place in a pre
Roderick Hart
May 22, 2013 Roderick Hart rated it really liked it
This novel features Mankell’s well-known detective, Kurt Wallander. In the previous book, Wallander had killed a criminal. Though he had little choice this event set him back so much he was off work for a year and seriously considered resigning from the police force. Why didn’t he? Because it was the only life he knew and also because a lawyer sought him out, seriously concerned that his father, also a lawyer, had been murdered.

The son is correct, his father had been murdered, though it was made
Etienne Mahieux
Dec 16, 2015 Etienne Mahieux rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La Scanie étant la région la plus méridionale de la Suède, un esprit inattentif pourrait s'imaginer que c'est également la plus riante. À en croire Henning Mankell, c'est un endroit tellement mélancolique qu'Elseneur, de l'autre côté du bras de mer,, c'est le Club Med par comparaison. Demandez à Shakespeare.
Kurt Wallander, pilier de la police locale, est d'ailleurs au début de "L'Homme qui souriait" en état de dépression profonde et de démission quasi imminente. C'est un événement pourtant fort
B.R. Stateham
May 01, 2016 B.R. Stateham rated it really liked it
I discovered the Kurt Wallander series thru Netflix. Season One of the Wallander series turned out to be truly fascinating binge-watching. So, obviously, I had to try the books. Gotta say Henning Mankell writes an interesting series.

So far all the Nordic crime writers I've tried write rather well.

Of course, I start this series with a book from the middle of the series. Apparently that's my MO when it comes to discovering a series. The main character, Kurt Wallander, is a Swedish homicide detect
Nov 23, 2009 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Man Who Smiled begins promising enough, with a murder disguised to look like an accident on a dark Swedish highway. Then we move to Kurt Wallander, brooding on a Jutland beach, trying to decide whether to quit the Ystand police department after he has killed a man in self defense. Of course, we know he won't quit, and he manages to get deeper and deeper into a murder investigation that soon turns into a gruesome investigation of a world-wide organ theft operation.

The problem with the book s
Apr 09, 2008 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
This was my first book by Henning Mankell. Though I thought the story was just average, I liked the character of Kurt Wallander very much, and will look for other books in the series.

Why I wasn't wild about the story - the whole 'quasi-omnipotent bad guy in his lair of iniquity having innocent people bumped off by his evil henchmen, while masquerading as a philanthropist' bit didn't quite work for me. Too much of a walking cliche - little more than a clumsy posterchild for the corrupting power o
Dec 27, 2014 Jay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Lots of coffee and a few cheese sandwiches are consumed throughout this book. It's depressing Wallander again. The writing is as moody as it usually is. But in this one, the plot just was not right. It's a business bad guy who specializes in, uh, everything. The evidence that normally piles up in mysteries involving multiple murders and financial shenanigans really doesn't, or is just laughable. It felt a bit like a number of scenes developed for writing practice were stitched together. Seems ...more
Dec 31, 2014 Shannon rated it it was ok
These books are just a bit weird and dark for me but they are good nonetheless. This one involves an 'untouchable' suspect who's that way because the rich are too powerful and just can't be evil in some people's minds. Wallander does get back on the job but he's still affected by the last case which was intense. Not sure if the introduction of Ann-Britt is to add a character for when Wallander is off brooding or being damaged or not but she's refreshing. Just before reading this I watched the ...more
Jan 06, 2013 Becky rated it liked it
Not as good as other Kurt Wallender stories. In this one we all know the guilty party. It's a matter of Kurt regaining his confidence and his intuition about events and evidence. I liked the new female detective Ann Brit Hogland. Martinson and Hanson and Svedberg and Bjork were as before. The story didn't really hang together till well past half way thru.

All the usual elements: conflicted and troubled detective; dark dark gruesome story; lots of clues; a few red herrings; cold weather, dark skie
Rich Meyer
Dec 27, 2014 Rich Meyer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
FINALLY this series lives up to its reputation. A decent murder mystery, some great characterization, no espionage-esque antics, and Kurt Wallander is back as a believable character! I had about given up hope that the book series would equal either of the television adaptations in quality and consistency, but Mankell hit this one pretty much out of the park. This novel finally gave the reader a good feel for the Swedish police procedural, and spent the entire book in Sweden this time, as opposed ...more
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Henning Mankell was an internationally known Swedish crime writer, children's author and playwright. He was best known for his literary character Kurt Wallander.

Mankell split his time between Sweden and Mozambique. He was married to Eva Bergman, Swedish director and daughter of Ingmar Bergman.
More about Henning Mankell...

Other Books in the Series

Kurt Wallander (10 books)
  • Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander, #1)
  • The Dogs of Riga (Kurt Wallander, #2)
  • The White Lioness (Kurt Wallander, #3)
  • Sidetracked (Kurt Wallander, #5)
  • The Fifth Woman (Kurt Wallander, #6)
  • One Step Behind (Kurt Wallander, #7)
  • Firewall (Wallander, #8)
  • The Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries (Kurt Wallander, #9)
  • The Troubled Man (Kurt Wallander, #10)

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