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The Man Who Smiled (Kurt Wallander #4)

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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  9,984 ratings  ·  488 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 Höglund, the department's first female detective ...more
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by New Press, The (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

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Don
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
...more
Karmen
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
...more
Melissa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Harry
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
...more
Brad
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
...more
Ian Mapp
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
...more
Anna
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
...more
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
...more
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 frien ...more
Junying
Feb 26, 2014 Junying rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Lobstergirl
Aug 22, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
Dorothy
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 fe ...more
Roderick Hart
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
...more
Tori Hoeschler
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
...more
Diane
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
...more
David
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
...more
Becky
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
...more
Marsha
I love Kurt Wallander, the cynical & filled with existential angst detective. And this is so European. It's nice to remember that a fictional killer can have some real hangups about taking someone else's life. I can't remember the last time that was played out on US tv. Wallander spins a great tale, although I could do without the comments on how crime is becoming worse in Sweden. While he links this to the demise of social-democracy, he still insinuates that it is also because people are in ...more
bookczuk
Wallender is an old friend in our home from when he was first available in English. This was an audio read, with a fabulous voice actor, who really got the different characters down beautifully. We loved being back in Sweden, though felt a bit schizophrenic, because we've been reading so much Nordic crime stuff, and also a bit of Harry Bosch, too. Everyone seems to have left the police force, but only Kurt is welcomed back; the Harrys in the other stories are still on the skids with their respec ...more
Susan
The Man Who Smiled by Henning Mankell is book 4 of the Kurt Wallander series set in late-20th-century Sweden. Kurt has been on personal leave for almost a year since killing a man in the line of duty. A friend comes to ask Kurt’s help, wants him to investigate a death which was ruled an accident, but the friend is sure was a crime. Kurt doesn’t feel able to return to his police detective persona, refuses his friend’s request, and decides to leave the force. But then, as Kurt told many afterward ...more
Fausto
CON MEDIA SONRISA

Cuarta novela de la saga y, también, la cuarta que leo del autor y de su personaje Wallander. No tan brillante como la anterior, “La leona blanca”, pero con un buen inicio y continuación de la trama. Nos encontramos con un policía acabado (muy propio de la novela negra) físicamente y psicológicamente. Los acontecimientos descritos en su anterior caso le pasan factura, llegando a tocar fondo y con una bajísima autoestima. Sin embargo, como el Ave Fénix, resurgirá de sus cenizas.
...more
Julián
Wallander ha quedado profundamente afectado después de haber matado un hombre en La leona blanca. Está pensando en pedir la baja definitiva cuando el asesinato de un abogado conocido suyo y que poco antes le ha pedido ayudada le devuelve las ganas de volver al trabajo.

Pronto parece dar con el autor del asesinato y de otros crímenes, pero la novela se centra en la búsqueda de pruebas o indicios que permitan procesarlo, pues se trata de una persona extremadamente rica e influyente en la comunidad.
...more
Shari
Kurt Wallander is near the end of a year in which he has taken leave of absence from the police force in order to get through a period of depression and self-doubt after having killed a man in the course of an investigation. Although he shot the man in self-defense, he seems to have lost his edge and now must decide what will happen with the rest of his life.

He has been tracked down by an old friend who has concerns about the recent death of his father, a lawyer to a high-powered business czar
...more
Elan Durham
Although I found the first 25 pages of this Wallander novel rather wonderful, I'm not sure it delivers on its promise ... There is a plodding quality in some of Mankell's writing, and the end of 'The Man Who Smiled' is almost ridiculous in its hyperbolic heroism, as if Manning were writing Wallander for a Hollywood Clint Eastwood vehicle. This is a reread, btw, from years ago. While I enjoyed reading the Wallander novels then, I am finding so many procedural gaffs and nearly inexcusable DUMB omi ...more
Andrea
Not as gripping as the previous Wallanders, but of course just excellent in design and execution. This is what the recent James Bond should have been like! Evil baddie running multinational compancy for nefarious ends, wonderfully exciting rescue and ending. And again meticulously detailed writing fleshing out the setting and characters.
I just love Wallanders father's paintings - with or without the groiuse - they are such a metaphor for so many things.
Peter Kobryn
The latest of Henning Mankell's Wallender series that I have read and as is always the case enjoyed reading.

Traditionally a holiday reading author for me and no different this year I rattled through this book in three days or so and that is a testimony to the way the story drew me in and kept me turning the pages.

Wallender has reconciled himself to retirement following his trauma of more than a year ago but contact from and the sudden death of an acquaintance causes a sudden change of mind as he
...more
Paul Curd
A good read, as usual with Mankell's Wallander books, but not one of his best in my opinion. The story seemed a little over-padded to me, and once or twice I found myself urging Mankell to 'get on with it'. Having said that I never lost interest in the story or, more especially, the principal characters. Despite my minor gripes, it was still an enjoyable read.
Andrew Trask
Henning Mankell remains an excellent mystery writer, and Kurt Wallander a fascinating character. While I'm a fan of the Wallander series, this installment didn't do as much for me as some of the others. The two largest problems I had with it were:

(1) The book bogs down a bit in the middle, after it's clear where the investigation is headed, but the characters are making little progress. There are ways of making a stalled investigation interesting to the reader even as it produces few results, bu
...more
Bridget
I wanted to like this story so much more than I did. Wallander is starting to feel a little formulaic for me, and I'm getting more than a little sick of his shenanigans. How can you be the hero ALL THE TIME when your move is to lie to your colleagues so you can go into situations solo? And then pretend like you don't enjoy the accolades. Total shenanigans.
Martin Hernandez
Cuarta entrega de la serie de novelas policiales suecas, con un ritmo muy distinto al que nos has acostumbrado las series norteamericanas. Aquí, los agentes del orden son personas de carne y hueso, no los personajes infalibles, prontos a desenfundar la pistola, que pueblan Nueva York o Los Angeles. Aquí, los policías se deprimen por tener que matar al malo de la historia, e incluso consideran abandonar el trabajo. Wallander tiene demasiados problemas internos y sus demonios interfieren en su tra ...more
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Henning Mankell is an internationally known Swedish crime writer, children's author and playwright. He is best known for his literary character Kurt Wallander.

Mankell splits his time between Sweden and Mozambique. He is married to Eva Bergman, Swedish director and daughter of Ingmar Bergman.
More about Henning Mankell...
Faceless Killers (Wallander #1) The Fifth Woman (Wallander, #6) Sidetracked (Wallander #5) The Dogs of Riga (Wallander #2) One Step Behind (Wallander, #7)

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