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The Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries

(Kurt Wallander #9)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  9,993 ratings  ·  681 reviews
Filling in the missing pieces of the internationally bestselling Kurt Wallander mystery series, The Pyramid tells the story of Wallander's beginnings through five gripping short mysteries.
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published September 22nd 2008 by New Press, The (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  9,993 ratings  ·  681 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
"Wallander woke up shortly after six o'clock on the morning of the eleventh of December. At the same moment that he opened his eyes, his alarm clock went off. He turned it off and lay staring out into the dark. Stretched his arms and legs, spread his fingers and toes. That had become a habit, to feel if the night had left him with any aches. He swallowed in order to check if any infection had sneaked into his respiratory system. He wondered sometimes if he was slowly becoming a hypochondriac."

"Wallander woke up shortly after six o'clock on the morning of the eleventh of December. At the same moment that he opened his eyes, his alarm clock went off. He turned it off and lay staring out into the dark. Stretched his arms and legs, spread his fingers and toes. That had become a habit, to feel if the night had left him with any aches. He swallowed in order to check if any infection had sneaked into his respiratory system. He wondered sometimes if he was slowly becoming a hypochondriac."

Kenneth Branagh as Wallander

Kurt Wallander has good reason to always be checking his health. He works too many hours, his eating schedule is haphazard at best, and he goes days sometimes with little or no sleep. Really the only time he can catch up on his sleep is when he is sick and he does get sick...a lot. He suffers from crippling depression especially when he is between cases. His wife has left him. His daughter is a floating presence just off stage most of the time. His father is cranky, disappointed that his son became a cop, and like Kurt mostly lost in his own world only instead of puzzling over a murder he is painting the same landscape picture over and over sometimes with a grouse and sometimes without.

Krister Henriksson as Wallander in the Swedish version

This is a compilation of five short stories. I was under the impression that these would all be cases from his days before the novels begin. The first story is of his first case where Wallander is still in uniform, but already displaying the tenacity that makes him a valued investigating detective. The best story is also the longest story called The Pyramid which is with Kurt in his forties already divorced and in the time line falls much later in his career.

Over the course of these stories Wallander does find himself bludgeoned, smacked, knifed, tied up, attacked by a dog, and in a position where he has to use his gun to return fire at an assailant. He closes his eyes when he shoots; so his aim, to say the least, is less than perfect. Dirty Harry he is not. Despite these near death experiences Wallander seems impervious to changing the way he investigates. Once he lands on a new line of inquiry he rarely has time to find a partner to go with him. People are just annoying distractions to his thinking process. Going solo does put him at risk, but the rewards, in his mind, outweigh a potentially carelessly achieved early death.

Usually in a book series we are supposed to root for our hero to find romance. In the case of Wallander whenever a new woman has caught his attention I'm yelling, run, run for your sanity. He is mysterious and intriguing to women. They think this quiet man is thoughtful, smart, and successful. When they can get his attention away from a case he must provide all the proper responses to keep the relationship moving forward. It doesn't take long for them to learn that he is absolutely obsessed with his case load. At first they can believe that it is just THIS case and that once the case is solved Kurt will go back to being the person they perceive him to be. After several cancellations for dinner, the calls in the middle of the night that have him dashing away, and their inability to pry him away for a vacation the women start to realize that this is the way Wallander is all the time and there is no chance of them changing him into the man they want him to be.

His mind is too inverted to share his thoughts with colleagues or with people who care about him. He may stop mid-sentence to follow another clue that has suddenly clicked into place leaving the person he was talking with hanging on his last word, desperately wishing they could be a part of the world in Wallander's head. I sometimes feel the need to give Kurt a good shake, but if I am found deceased under suspicious circumstances there is no doubt in my mind I want Wallander on the case.

Ystad, Sweden the setting for the Wallander series

When I started this book I thought it would be a good place for anyone to ease into the Wallander series, but after reading it I believe that readers will like this book more after they have read a couple of the novels.

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Mal Warwick
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
What is it about Swedish mystery writers?

First (at least in my consciousness) there were the ten Martin Beck police procedurals of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, published from 1965 to 1975. Now we flock to bookstores and movie theaters to enter the world of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomqvist, who sprang from the mind of the late Stieg Larsson in the captivating form of the Millennium Trilogy.

In between there was Kurt Wallender, the moody small-town police inspector creat
I am closing in on the end of my time with Kurt Wallander -- only a couple of books to go after this -- and I am a little sad to be saying goodbye to the depressing Swedish cop. As Mankell says, "It is the fans who will miss Wallander." Just so.

This volume is a nice beginning of the end for me. A stack of stories that span Wallander's career and give some fantastic insights into his character. It has the added benefit of being the perfect book for a vacation trip: five self-contained mysteries,
Mar 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kurt Wallander isn't just my favorite fictional detective. He's one of my favorite characters from any book. When I finished Before the Frost a few years ago, my heart sank at the realization that there was no more Wallander available. I missed his company. I missed hanging out at the Ystad police station with him, drinking endless cups of coffee, having meeting after meeting with colleagues in which the facts of a case are pored over yet again, in the hopes that this time, something new will be ...more
May 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
The PBS series starring Kenneth Brannagh got me interested in Wallander, but reading this book really got me hooked. This seemed like a great place to start, as the stories fill in some of the gaps in Wallander's career as a rookie cop, and then later working his way up the ranks. On that score, there seems to be a pretty big temporal leap from "rookie" Wallender to the nearly fully realized one, but I guess an author can only write the stories he's inspired to write. As much or more as they fil ...more
Rowena Hoseason
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
The essence of small-town Scandi crime is distilled into this collection of five shorter Wallander stories, all set in the years before the full-length novels. These standalone mysteries almost act like a ‘secret origin’ series as the detective’s keynote characteristics become increasingly apparent in each episode.

Each of the stories showcases an intriguing investigation – they’re worth reading even if you’re not so familiar with Mankell’s typical mix of murder amid daily mundanity.
Marsena Adams-Dufresne
Jul 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
I am loathe to give this book only two stars because Henning Mankell is one of my favorite mystery authors and I eagerly await new installments (i.e., translations) with his character, Kurt Wallander. (How thrilling to discover a PBS Mystery series of Wallander, played by Kenneth Brannaugh!)

This book includes four stories that go back to the beginning of Wallander's career as an investigator, supposedly fleshing out those experiences that the other books only allude to. But I keep thinking that
Oct 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing

THE PYRAMID is a collection of 5 short mysteries by which Henning Mankell introduces us to Kurt Wallender when he is a 21 year-old patrolman investigating the first homicide of his career. In a foreward, Mankell explains that he has received many inquires over the years about what happened to Wallender in the years before he receives the phone call the begins the first book in the series, FACELESS KILLERS. Mankell acknowledges that there have been inconsistencies in Wallender’s story as it stret
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Have read other Wallander full novels and enjoyed them as I have enjoyed watching the series, but this book does not serve as a good intro. It is filling in blanks with several shorts, and had I read this first I would never have pursued the novels. Stilted telling with little hope that Wallander will wake up...(not exaggerating as he even walks himself into a serious knife stabbing).
It was a fresh and clean paperback from my library so that was good. Pyramid was probably the best tale of
Dec 23, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
Henning Mankell is one of my favourite crime authors. His Wallander novels are darkly atmospheric, with a bleakness that is somehow compelling.

The Pyramid is a collection of short stories written mainly in the late nineties. They fill in some of the earlier points of Wallander's career, starting with his time as a young policeman in the late sixties, and his very first case as a detective.

I think perhaps Mankell's techniques of plot revelation work better in a longer form - I found t/>The
Oct 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Göran Tunhammar
A rather unnecessary book - five stories that constitute a prequel to the Wallander series, beginning when Kurt is just a lad starting out on the police force in the 60s and not yet married to malcontent hairdresser Mona. Apparently there was a great hue and cry from Mankell fans, in the form of letters, wanting to know what had happened to Wallander before the series began. (Personally I never wondered. It was enough for me to believe that the divorced 40-something curmudgeon sprang fully grown ...more
Jan 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
disappointing...though I'm a Wallander fan, these stories which follow Wallender's early career (written later) seemed mechanical, uninspired, the prose flat and unadorned. Some stories were better than others (wish I could remember which now). Mankell does better with novel-length mysteries than with stories I think. Just skip to the novels*. They vary in quality, but are generally much more absorbing and fun reads.

*I'm referring here to his procedural detective novels, the Wallande/>*I'm
Erin L
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was interesting reading Wallander's first case which included a bit about the political environment in Sweden. Really not a bad collection of short stories.

Interestingly enough, I think my audiobook was read by the same narrator that did the Martin Beck books - also set in Sweden by Swedish authors.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it liked it
A series of short stories dealing with Wallander's life as a beat policeman first of all, and then at other parts of his early life. Mostly fine if not outstanding.
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well this is truly an exception to my usual preferences. I ordinarily rather disdain the short story, like the novella much more than most, and dislike the most verbose of 90 adjectives a paragraph "lyrical" tomes of 500 plus pages. But here, not so much. In fact, I thought the 4 short stories were a full 4 and that the Pyramid length of fuller length was a 3.

And thinking about this at length (I finished all these on a 7 day trip and never reviewed them)- I do realize that with Wallander on the
Derek Baldwin
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it
I've grown very fond of the two TV series of Wallander with Krister Henriksson but hadn't read any of the novels. In a way these stories/novellas, written after the novels but set before them, are probably a pretty good place to start. Exploring some episodes in KW's early career, and his relationships with his father, wife, and daughter, none of the stories outstays their welcome. The last one, The Pyramid, is the longest and the best one. Even in the shortest stories I find the minute details ...more
Apr 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
I confess to having only read the first two of the five stories in this book. They're tightly written, intelligent and have intelligent psychology but I found them kind of grim and austere so I didn't finish the book. This set of stories is, I guess, a prequel to the Kurt Wallander series. I think I would find them less depressing if Wallander didn't spend so much time fighting with his wife and brooding over their cruddy relationship. I am probably more aware of this dynamic than other Wallande ...more
Myer Kutz
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book contains five stories, which set the stage for the Wallander novels, which I've thoroughly enjoyed, even with Mankell's constant tics (Wallender's father's paintings, etc.) The stories here, which follow wallander from his early twenties to around forty, are eminently readable - I eagerly went from one to the next and finished the book quickly. Wallender is a fully realized character, a ratheer downbeat one, to be sure. Maybe that's due to the weather: spring always seems to arrive late ...more
Novellas and short stories that take Wallander from the late '60s to the beginning of the case in the first book about him (that last paragraphs have him receiving the call about two elderly people dead in their farmhouse). If you're a fan of the series, you will absolutely want to read this. If you haven't read the novels, starting here would launch you into the series very well.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
What draws me to Wallander is that he’s at his base a normal guy, with normal problems. And the descriptions of his life are from inside his head, so you get that kind of voyeuristic view that seems at times selfish, but that come across as sort of endearing. And you get to know his personality, including those little quirks that everyone has but that are rarely public knowledge. And in most Wallander stories, you get the stultifying weather. This book, made up of 5 Wallander cases from before t ...more
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's something very special about these books for me. I know they're not everyone's cup of tea, but Wallander's doggedness and doubt about the world is very intriguing to me. And these books are once again foretelling the rise of nationalism in the West. Now that Mankell as passed, I feel even more tied in to these stories. This sense of chaos and doubt that liberal democracy can persevere is the underpinning of his writings. And justice. He ends his foreword regarding Wallander that what he' ...more
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stories were good but I didn't feel compelled to read another one when I finished. These are novelettes and therefore the plots are not as complicated. Or perhaps it was because these were earlier books and I know how much the main character Wallander had developed with his relationships. Menkell's writing is more enjoyable and revealing about this charming character with each new novel. Therefore, I think Inspector Wallander's adventures should be read in sequence.
Gabi Coatsworth
Sep 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: translated, crime
I didn't know the Wallander mysteries, apart from television, so when someone gave me a copy of this I thought it would be a good opportunity to find out if I wanted to read the rest. I don't feel the need to, now. The stories were OK, but set in the sombre landscape of the TV series, even though the weather isn't described very much. But the mood is dark, I guess, and I don't feel like reading anything bleak right now.
Oct 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I presume it was the translation, but the flow of the book was very stilted and detracted from the reading experience. Fortunately, the stories and characters were good enough that I still enjoyed the stories.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
A great collection of short stories.
Maggie K
Sep 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought this was first in the series, rather than a prequel, so I am sure I will appreciate it a lot more come time to read it in the right oreder!
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very well done. This is five short stories that cover the time period from when Wallander first has aspirations of becoming a Detective till the time the period of the first Wallander novel starts. As such I think it provides some insight into his growth from a policeman to a Dectective Inspector that is the familiar person in the novels. It is well worth reading.
Jo Jenner
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this but do not start it as your first Wallander. I have not read all the books but I have read enough to understand the nuances and clues linking no back to later books.
A very clever collection of short stories that go some way to explain Wallander. I would have liked to have know more about his relationship with Rydberg and with his father but generally this collection nicely tied his history in to the man he becomes.
Lukasz Pruski
Sep 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Henning Mankell's "The Pyramid" is a collection of five stories about cases from various stages in Kurt Wallander's career. The first four are short stories, the final item is a novella.

"Wallander's First Case": June 1969. 21-year old Wallander is a patrolman, and when his neighbor commits suicide, Kurt learns the art of detection from inspector Hemberg. Wallander is dating Mona - things do not go quite smoothly; the relationship with his father is also rough. One of the marginal cha
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book has 5 stories of varying lengths that capture 5 different cases of Wallander's career starting with when he was a young cop wanting to be a criminal investigator in the late 60's to the Pyramid in Dec 1989 and January 1990. The stories itself are engrossing and well written. Of the 5 stories, the Pyramid was my favorite. I think in fact the Mankell could have written another 100 pages of it if he wanted and made another novel out of it(which he did not of course).

I liked the
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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.

Other books in the series

Kurt Wallander (10 books)
  • Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander, #1)
  • The Dogs of Riga (Kurt Wallander, #2)
  • The White Lioness (Kurt Wallander, #3)
  • The Man Who Smiled (Kurt Wallander #4)
  • Sidetracked (Kurt Wallander, #5)
  • The Fifth Woman (Kurt Wallander, #6)
  • One Step Behind  (Kurt Wallander, #7)
  • Firewall (Kurt Wallander, #8)
  • The Troubled Man (Kurt Wallander, #10)
“You learn a thing or two as the years go by,” 0 likes
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