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The Man Who Smiled (Kurt Wallander #4)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  12,069 ratings  ·  543 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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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
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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
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
Ubik 2.0
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
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
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
Mr. Gottshalk
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 detectiv ...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
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
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
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
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.
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 li ...more
Rich Meyer
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 fi ...more
I really like this series. The translator does a stellar job. Suspicious Scandinavians! Coffee! Sandwiches! Murder! More coffee! More sandwiches! I love that characters actively search out food.
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
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
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
I picked up this book not realizing it was in the middle of a series, but I was able to slip right in with no problems, since the first part of the book is spent brooding over events from the previous book. (The events are pretty significant, and if you are interested in the series, #3 (or #1!) would probably be a better place to start.)

I enjoyed the ruminative but sparse prose, at least in the English translation, and I was captivated at the diligence of this painstaking, by-the-books procedura
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

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

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