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The Dogs of Riga (Kurt Wallander #2)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  13,851 ratings  ·  957 reviews
Second in the Kurt Wallander series.

Sweden, winter, 1991. Inspector Kurt Wallander and his team receive an anonymous tip-off. A few days later a life raft is washed up on a beach. In it are two men, dressed in expensive suits, shot dead. The dead men were criminals, victims of what seems to have been a gangland hit. But what appears to be an open-and-shut case soon takes o
Paperback, 326 pages
Published April 13th 2004 by Vintage (first published 1992)
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Best Detective/Mystery Series
65th out of 1,304 books — 1,569 voters
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Scandinavian/Nordic Mysteries
19th out of 215 books — 498 voters

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Community Reviews

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I was looking forward to reading this one because it hadn't been adapted for Kenneth Brannagh's Wallander TV series, which I've been a fan of. I suppose I should have wondered instead why they'd skipped it. This one starts off ok, with an intriguing mystery of suited men, dead of gunshot wounds, adrift in a dinghy. There's some interesting hangovers from Faceless Killers, not least Wallander's former confidant, the deceased detective Rydberg haunting his decision making. Mankell tries to establi ...more
Obviously if you have been paying attention to what I have been adding to my bookshelf lately I live in a world where nothing exists besides Henning Mankell. Although sometimes I take small breaks to watch my Netflix versions of Brother Cadfael which are of course just for fun. Shits and giggles aside, Mankell has got me hooked into his particular brand of literary detective story because he manages to combine the standard suspense driven narrative one might expect from that 'genre' of books tha ...more
Poor old Kurt Wallander. I just want to buy the guy a beer and tell him to quit being so hard on himself.

The Swedish police detective isn’t faring much better in the second book of the series than he was in the first. Still lonely after his divorce and worried about his flighty daughter and elderly father, Wallander has also lost his best friend on the police force to cancer. The new breed of crime rising in the early ‘90s in Sweden continues to shock him and makes him uncertain whether he shou
Kurt Wallander, Swedish detective, is inexplicably sent to Latvia to investigate the death of a Latvian police officer who was killed Latvia.

Wallander doesn't know why he's in Latvia. Henning Mankell doesn't appear to know why Wallander is in Latvia. I don't know why Wallander is in Latvia. After 300 pages of Wallander being driven around Latvia, being cold, eating omelettes, drinking coffee, wandering around with a map, and sitting around asking himself why he's in Latvia, I don't actuall
Once upon a time I heard tell of a poet who always travelled with the same three books: the Bible, Don Quixote and Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. It was probably a symbolist poet now that I come to think of it (view spoiler). Although I approve of travelling with a book or two - I'll admit to being a bigamist reader - as a rule I prefer a little more variety even if this does require prolonged dithering in ...more
Book Review

Dogs of Riga, the second in the Kurt Wallander series places Wallander outside of his comfort zone: in Riga, capital of Latvia and without the presence of his familiar Swedish colleagues to whom we were introduced in the first of the series.

 photo riga_zpscb9f7343.jpg
Riga, Latvia

An oft rendered opinion of Americans by Europeans is that the average European appears to know more about American politics than does the average American. And so it is with slight amusement that I find Wallander cast adrift in the same
Lance Charnes
Aug 09, 2014 Lance Charnes rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Scandinoir
Shelves: fiction-crime
You may have gathered from my other reviews (such as here and here) that the Scandinoir tsunami has broken on either side of me and left me largely unmoved. I'm tired of protagonists who are incompetent at the business of being human beings and stories full of characters who are all broken doves. So it could be that my reaction to The Dogs of Riga -- author Mankell's second Wallander novel -- is one of relief in finding an entry in this genre that didn't make me want to open a vein.

Inspector Kur
James Thane
Swedish detective Kurt Wallander is plunged into another depressing mystery when two bodies wash ashore on the Swedish coast in a life raft. The two male victims have been shot to death and then wrapped in an embrace in the lifeboat and cast adrift. They are carrying no identification, but their dental work suggests that they are from somewhere in Eastern Europe.

The victims are finally traced to Latvia and a police official from Riga named Major Liepa comes to Sweden to participate in the invest
This was an engaging mystery, with two dead bodies found drifting in an inflatable raft in the ocean and Wallander his usual charming glum self, until the setting moved from Sweden to Latvia. I just couldn't get interested in the shadowy, dangerous, corrupt, gray, Soviet-controlled landscape the way Mankell had written it. And my image of a woman who would have the name Baiba Liepa is a fat housewife wearing a babushka, simmering pigs feet in a big cauldron in her yard next to her Lada up on cin ...more
This second Kurt Wallander book was surpsingly different from the first. My dissapointment after what I thought was the start of a very promising police procedural series makes me rate this lower than the book probably deserves.

I was expecting another gloomy, realistic rendering of a murder case, and the first chapters offered me just that : a mysterious boat is found in the Baltic with two unidentified corpses in it. Wallander tries to unravel the mystery, but he has a hard time because there a
I wasn't sure I was going to keep reading the Wallander series, but I kept thinking about Wallander in that way you do if an author has done a great job with the character -- as if Wallander were a real person. So I bought the 2nd in the series (not available on Kindle -- ahem!) and jumped back into what feels like the unending Swedish winter.

In this book, which I enjoyed just as much as the first, the murder of two men, found tortured and shot, then set to sea in a lifeboat, quickly becomes se
Somewhere along the line, the idea of picking up the Wallander books was planted in my head; months later, this seedling sprouted as a full-on impulse to buy a used copy of the second book. What about the first? Who needs it, I figured, let's get on with starting this series!

I was immediately attracted to Wallander's moodiness and Mankell's fantastic prose (yes: in translation, but until I learn Swedish, translations are what I've got). I was surprised when this story jumped out of Sweden into a
Paul Patterson

Henning Mankell believes that a mystery involves more than merely intriguing plots but must function as a social critique of society and a deepening of the existential questions. At least that is what he has written in his official website.

Many of the themes of The Dogs of Riga are applicable to most countries going through social transition; there are dogs in every instance. Dogs as recurrent symbols in the book are emblematic of the collective, blind fo
I picked this up while on the waiting list for "A Girl Who Played with Fire". I heard #1 in a BBC radio play. I've also since seen a few of the Swedish TV episodes and the Brannaugh BBC TV series. The stories are 80% "interior dialogue" (I think that's what my high school Lit teacher called it - where most of the action takes place in the hero's mind.) IMHO, TV can capture Sweden's beautiful summers / desolate winters, but the famous Wallander compassion and political commentary evaporates.

Nancy Oakes
like a 3.5, really; I rounded up.

Even though the rating I give this book comes out like average, it's still a good story. Not quite as good as the first in this series featuring Kurt Wallander (Faceless Killers -- which I thought was excellent), but still an enjoyable read. I'd definitely recommend it to people who want to follow the series, and to mystery readers in general. These mystery novels are very intense and may not appeal to people who would rather read cozy mysteries (not that there's
I enjoyed the first Wallander book and this one starts off promising but it ultimately fizzles. The set up rapidly takes us through some standard police procedural but after a few reveals it switches focus to a new, seemingly unrelated crime. Wallander is promptly sent to Riga in Latvia and for much of the middle section he wanders/mopes around Riga with little focus. He can't seem to figure out why he's there and I couldn't either to be honest.

After a lot of nothing very much he gets caught up
Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime)
I understand that there's so little crime in Sweden that a mystery writer has to look to redder fields, but the whole Latvian plot is so incredibly unbelievable! Why on Earth would Wallander agree to help a bunch of people who repeatedly refuse to tell him what's going on? How could he ever trust them.

I'll stick to Brannagh's Wallander, thanks.
I wondered why the Kenneth Branagh productions had failed to film, "The Dogs of Riga"; now I have a good appreciation for why they gave it a miss.

Although this book appears to borrow the concept of displaced detective in a foreign land from, "The Man Who Went Up In Smoke" by Sjowall and Wahloo, it ends there.

Wallander's experience of Riga, Latvia is nothing short of outrageous. He is thrown into situations that appear highly unlikely and which push our sense of belief to the absolute limit. Alth
This is the first Kurt Wallander (and Mankell) book I've read, as far as I remember.

Winter 1992. Two bodies are found on the wintery coasts of Sweden in a life raft. They turn out to be East Europeans, dressed in expensive clothing, and both having been shot. No witnesses, no motives, no crime scene, but Wallander does a great job tracking these anonymous men to Latvia. The Latvian police sends an interesting police officer, major Liepa, to invetigate. The case seems closed for Sweden when Liep
Derek Baldwin
Considering when it was written (1991) this novel makes some very prescient connections between organised crime and the rapidly collapsing state institutions in the Eastern Bloc (as was). Mainly set in Latvia, the claustrophobia and paranoia of the time is captured very well. This is just as well really as the whodunnit elements of this novel are fairly weak, to be honest.

Kurt Wallander is a likeable character, he comes across as a rather naive man in some ways, but one who realises that the wo
Une fois de plus, Henning Mankell nous transporte dans un univers inquiétant, sur les traces du commissaire Wallander. Dans Les chiens de Riga, nous découvrons cette fois un environnement bien différent de sa Suède natale : les Etats baltes et plus particulièrement la Lettonie et sa capitale, Riga.
Tout commence en Suède avec la découverte de deux corps à bord d’un canot. Les victimes sont apparemment originaires d’un pays de l’Est et après quelques recherches, du renfort est envoyé de l’étrange
This is the second Kurt Wallander novel I've read. Judging from what has happened to this Swedish homicide detective in the first two books, it is important to read the books in order. As I was reading through the Dogs of Riga,(Riga being the capital of Latvia)I kept changing my mind about whether I liked this book. The last fifty pages sealed the deal-I did like it, but not as much as the first Kurt book. Most of the story takes place in Latvia, around the time that great changes were occuring ...more
3 stars out of loyalty for the series, and because compared to some of the 2s I've awarded, at least Dogs of Riga is a stylistically painless read. But the bad news is that the whole story is utterly implausible - irritatingly so.

Shortly after the initial discovery of the bodies it is absolutely clear that the murders weren't committed in his jurisdiction, let alone his country and the victims not Swedish. Nonetheless after the death - not in Sweden - of a non-Swedish detective, Wallander is sud
Chief Inspector Kurt Wallander leaves the comforts of his home turf in this second entry in this stellar series. Two bullett-riddled corpses in a life raft wash up on the coast near Ystad, and it soon becomes clear to Wallander's team that they are not Swedes. Latvian seems to be their nationality, and a detective from that country, Major Liepa, is sent in to consult. Kurt and his guys are relieved (who wants to tangle with the Russian Mafia?) when Liepa takes full responsibility, returning to L ...more
I seem finally to have found a type of genre-writing that I get.

This is a really fabulous, fabulous book -- better than Faceless Killers (which itself was excellent) -- a mystery set partially in the grim landscape of a decaying factory town in southern Sweden, and partially in the even grimmer setting of Latvia (Riga) during the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mankell's construction of plot, and his characters show mastery.

Modris Eksteins' Rites of Spring is one of the most astonishing books I h
Getting to know you Wallander as I finished this second in the series. A bit more political intrigue than is to my liking but this detailed police procedural kept me reading. Enjoyed Mankell's description of Ystad and learned a bit about Riga and the character development.
The Baltic region is not a place I dream of visiting, especially in winter. Kurt Wallander isn't the most sympathetic of heroes. The plot of The Dogs of Riga is well crafted, a sturdy piece of work, but not really inspired. For some reason, I've always tended to avoid mystery novels by foreign authors.

Yet after reading the first two in this series, I find myself thinking that I'll be driving right by my favorite bookstore tomorrow and should plan to pick up the third. Something about how Hennin
I've heard great things about the Wallander books and having visited Riga last year I thought this was a good place to start.

Swedish detective Kurt Wallander begins a new investigation when two bodies wash up on the Swedish coast in a life raft. Eventually they are tracked as coming from Riga, Latvia, and a Latvian detective comes over to investigate. However, as soon as the detective returns to Riga he is murdered and Wallander heads to Riga to try and help the local police solve the crime. Be
4.5. The fist half was too slow. After that it was a great read!
Excellent, powerful depiction of the residual darkness of the effects of the Iron Curtain as seen through the eyes of Wallander, who is also vividly real. The pace is relentless, the emotions he feels and the forces compelling him become those of the reader. I could not put this book down from start to finish.
Mankell certainly is a brilliant writer.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please combine 2 17 Jul 10, 2012 12:26PM  
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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 White Lioness (Wallander, #3)
  • The Man Who Smiled (Wallander #4)
  • 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)
Faceless Killers (Wallander #1) The Fifth Woman (Wallander, #6) Sidetracked (Wallander #5) The Man Who Smiled (Wallander #4) One Step Behind (Wallander, #7)

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“He was so excessively polite that Wallendar suspected he had endured many humiliations in his life.” 13 likes
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