Mar 22, 12
Read from March 19 to 22, 2012
When I picked this book off the library shelf, I didn't realize I was reading the last book in the famed Kurt Wallander series. In fact, I only read one the other day. At least I know that someday I'll be able to "catch up" the series since I just got a copy of the FIRST Wallander the other day. Henning is one of those mesmerizing writers although this one, especially, is very melancholy. In fact the New York Times Review of the book says "His brusque, gloomy Swedish police inspector can be downbeat even by the standards of Sweden, where the bar for brooding is already set so high."
The review also says that the book is less about the mystery that Wallander is trying to solve than it is about Wallander's own deterioration. Someone said that they weren't happy with the way Mankell finished his character. He did not, as Agatha Christie, did send him to his death as she did ultimately, or to retirement raising "marrows" as she did initially. Wallander is approaching 60 and feeling old.
His daughter is pregnant and in a relationship with a wealthy stock trader whose father is a retired naval officer Hankel Van Ecken. Wallander is invited to a 75th birthday party for Van Ecken. During the party, Van Ecken asks him to a private room where he tells him a story about a Russian submarine that was "let go" by someone in power. He glances out the window and seems concerned. Shortly thereafter he disappears.
Although it's not in his jurisdiction, he is drawn into the investigation. At the same time, his health seems to be in steep decline. This is a long book with so many incredible twists and turns. Nothing is as it seems in the shadowy world of international intrigue and espionage. The mysteries are never fully resolved, the ending is quick and leaves many loose ends. It's as if Henning is saying that this is life - full of loose ends and unsatisfactory endings. Henning seems to be facing his own mortality here also, unless, of course he appears with a whole new character. One never knows!