Lars Guthrie's Reviews > The Fifth Woman: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

The Fifth Woman by Henning Mankell
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's review
Oct 05, 2009

really liked it
Read in October, 2009

As I get farther into this series ('The Fifth Woman' is the sixth book), I find the serial killers more and more unlikely and harder to see as actual characters. It's as if Mankell created them as progressively challenging exercises in motivation and execution and stopped working on them as people. That's not to say Mankell is not creative and clever (and shocking) in limning those motivations and executions, but I like more realistic villains (as in 'The White Lioness'). He makes up for this as he digs deeper into his detective's history and personality, and his family, his acquaintances and his colleagues. Kurt Wallander is an endlessly intriguing guy, and it's the arc of his life story as he goes from his forties towards his fifties that keeps me going. In 'The Fifth Woman,' women continue to have more and more influence: Wallander's daughter, his Latvian friend Baiba, the new police chief and especially his fellow cop, Ann-Britt Hoglund. It's not giving away too much to note that even the serial killer's a woman in this one.
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04/28 marked as: read

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