Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The White Lioness: Kurt Wallander” as Want to Read:
The White Lioness: Kurt Wallander
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The White Lioness: Kurt Wallander

(Kurt Wallander #3)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  16,158 ratings  ·  1,023 reviews
In peaceful southern Sweden, Louise Akerblom, an estate agent, pillar of the Methodist church, wife and mother, disappears. There is no explanation and no motive. Inspector Kurt Wallander and his team are called in to investigate.

As Inspector Wallander is introduced to this missing persons case, he has a gut feeling that the victim will never be found alive, but he has no
Paperback, 576 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Vintage (first published 1993)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The White Lioness, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Sher Davidson I'm currently reading this H. Mankell book and it's spellbinding. What I like about Henning Mankell is that he not only writes compelling mystery…moreI'm currently reading this H. Mankell book and it's spellbinding. What I like about Henning Mankell is that he not only writes compelling mystery books like the whole Wallander series but they have deeper content regarding socio/political issues such as Apartheid in South Africa, Chinese history as in Faceless Killers, etc. I started reading his books trying to get a feel for Swedish authors and their books content as I am currently writing a novel about WWII Sweden. It's about a young woman searching for her Swedish grandmother's past and the secrets of the family, a murder which took place during WWII. Henning Mankell's books are giving me a good insight into the region where my story takes place, Southern Sweden and the area known as Skone. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,158 ratings  ·  1,023 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jeffrey Keeten
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nordic-noir, africa
”A child should grow, grow bigger; but in my country a black child has to learn how to grow smaller and smaller. I saw my parents succumb to their own invisibility, their own accumulated bitterness. I was an obedient child and learned to be a nobody among nobodies. Apartheid was my real father. I learned what no one should need to learn. To live with falsehood, contempt, a lie elevated to the only truth in my country. A lie enforced by police and laws, but above all by a flood of white water, a ...more
James Thane
This, the third entry in Henning Mankell's series featuring Swedish Inspector Kurt Wallander, appeared in 1993, and is a very ambitious effort--in the end, perhaps overly so. The story starts simply enough with the murder of a real estate agent who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it quickly spins into a major international conspiracy involving a plot by die-hard South African whites to assassinate Nelson Mandela, shortly after he was released from prison.

The plotters have
Jul 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I'm only reviewing this one book, but I've read the entire detective series by Henning Mankell, and I am a huge fan. I first became aware of him after returning from a trip to Sweden in 2004, and then discovered he has a cult following in Europe and is beginning to have one in the U.S. He has written all kinds of novels, but I've focused on his mystery series featuring Swedish police officer Kurt Wallander. The Wallander stories are good mysteries in their own right, but what commends the books ...more
Apr 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kurt Wallander and South Africa.

One of Sweden’s most recognized fiction crime fighters gets caught up in international espionage in this 1993 post cold war thriller that has half of it’s action involving the end of Apartheid in South Africa as the reigning Boers free Nelson Mandela and all hell breaks lose.

What keeps this moving and what holds it together is author Henning Mankell’s excellent writing (and to be fair Laurie Thompson’s translation) and his ability to convey a subtle but unsettling
Aug 14, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Henning, dude, if you want to write a book about how it sucks to live in racist South Africa, I'm all for it. But I picked up this book because it was a KURT WALLANDER mystery. Wallander--the SWEDISH policeman, for he really going to foil a plot to assassinate Nelson Mandela? I want to read about SWEDISH police doing SWEDISH things like solving murders in SKANE, drinking coffee and eating sandwiches. If I wanted to read the Ladies Detective series, I would have joined a book clu ...more
Here the world of Swedish detective Kurt Wallander crosses that of South African plotters intent on political murder. I'm not sure if I read this before or after Dogs of Riga. I enjoyed this book, liked the characterisation and the settings, despite the more than slightly stretched set up. It was hard to avoid the feeling that Mankell really was much more interested in writing about southern Africa, where he spent part of the year living for a fair chunk of his life, rather than his shabby Detec ...more
Book Review

The White Lioness, the third in the Kurt Wallander series is perhaps intended as Mankell's most ambitious Wallander novel to date. I say "intended" because on some levels it doesn't succeed as such. I'm a big fan of Wallander: his idiosyncrasies, his anti-authority attitude, his loneliness and faltering family relations - they all evoke a reader's empathy in just the right amounts - but Mankell's ambitions to incorporate in this book a world stage of politics, assassinations, and thir
Feb 13, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hesitated a long time before reading the third Wallander story. That's mainly because I knew that this book would be much different than the first two since it is a lot more ambitious. It deals with Mandela... hence with world politics. Uuuughhh... is this really what I want to read in a proper noir/crime novel? Nah... I read the papers for that kinda stuff.

The first two books had many flaws but they were also interesting in a certain way because they mainly focused on the characters and the
Mar 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: swedish mystery fans
I approached The White Lioness tentatively, afraid that I wouldn't like it and that it could very well mark the end of my appreciation for the written Wallander.

Faceless Killers was a somewhat uninspired though compelling murder mystery. It was straightforward, and exactly what one would expect from the story of a taciturn Swedish cop in quiet Ystad. Coupled with the BBC movies, it was more than enough to make me want to proceed in the series. Dogs of Riga, however, was something else entirely.
This is the third book of the Wallander series.

The plot is around an execution-style murder of a Swedish housewife. This apparent simple investigation unmasks a murder plot against President De Klerk and the future South-african president Nelson Mandela. A ex-KGB agent together with a mercenary south-african will be responsible for such political outrage.

As usual, Inspector Wallander gives his own personal way in this crime investigation.

The book's tittle refers to an albino lioness and its rea
Lewis Weinstein
Mankell undertook a difficult premise ... major related crimes on two continents, without much coordination between the police. I am intrigued by Wallender with all of his flaws and uncertainties. The African side was relatively weaker, with no well-developed characters to care about. The ending was staged and anti-climatic. So I gave it 3*** on a stretch. Other books in this series are better.
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So far it's been my experience that the Kurt Wallander series seems to improve with each successive novel. This one was rich in setting, characters, and interwoven incidents that held my attention throughout. A very good read to me.
Jill Mackin
Great storyline. A wee bit too long for me. Kurt Wallander is an interesting inspector.
Published in 1993, this is the third book in the Kurt Wallander series, and the best in my opinion, preceded by-Faceless Killers and The Dogs of Riga. Wallander is a detective inspector in a small city in Sweden. He is divorced, out of shape and experiences waves of self-doubt concerning his abilities as a police officer, father, and son. When Wallander has a case to solve, he is like a dog with a bone. He cannot let it go, and all else goes by the wayside. In this book, he is still reeling from ...more
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the best police procedural/mystery writing is coming out of the Scandinavian countries. Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, for example, also come from Sweden, and their work is consistently excellent. Not to mention there must ne some very good translators working on these books.
Mankell, who wrote this in 1993 as apartheid was beginning to crumble, has little love for those white South Africans who wanted to retain the status quo. In this, one of his lengthier works, his protagonist, Chief Ins
Dec 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, detective, mystery
Review from Badelynge.
After the underwhelming Dogs of Riga I was hoping for a big fat Swedish murder investigation this time. The White Lioness is a far superior animal by far but it's also not entirely that big fat dose of Wallander I wanted. Written just before South Africa would throw away the worst of its horrific identity, Mankell once again writes a book that is so very rooted in the time of its writing - here the early 90s leading up to the eventual free elections in 1994. The first segme
Kathleen Hagen
The White Lioness, by Henning Mankell B-minus.
Narrated by Dick Hill, produced by Blackstone audio, downloaded from

This is the first Mankell book that I’ve been disappointed with. In this book, Wallander and the national police force of Sweden inadvertently become involved in an assassination plot in South Africa. The perpetrators are being trained in Sweden. Wallander’s involvement begins when a man comes into his office and says that his wife, a real estate agent, has disappeared. S
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good story and a very good narrator. 5 stars!
Deb Jones
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A police procedural, historical fiction and thriller wrapped into one in this the third of Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series.
Patrick Sherriff
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-and-such
Good, but I wanted more of the Swedish stuff, less of the global espionage. My proper review is here:
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Tales of two countries, bound by a telex. That’s how I thought of summarizing this book set in Sweden and South Africa.

I have been repeatedly urged to read Mankell by many crime novel aficionados due to his pre-occupation with global themes and issues that go beyond the crime genre. After watching the very satisfying Wallander tele-drama series, where the focus was purely on the insomniac policeman who defies protocol, and after a recent visit to South Africa, I finally picked up this novel, but
The White Lioness is the third in Henning Mankell’s series of romans policiers starring the world-weary and digestively troubled Kurt Wallander. It’s 1993 and Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk are negotiating the end to apartheid in South Africa. Meanwhile, in Ystad, Kurt Wallander is investigating the execution-style murder of a young housewife who seemingly had no flaws and no enemies. The two stories converge in an international intrigue a la Day of the Jackal.

I had several problems with this
Nancy Oakes
The White Lioness is book number three in Mankell's series of crime novels Ystad detective featuring Kurt Wallander. I was really iffy on whether or not I would read this one, since it seemed more like a span-the-globe type of mystery, but I stuck with it and was happily rewarded.

The action begins when an estate agent goes out to look at a house for sale and loses her way on the road. Stopping to ask for directions at a farmhouse was the last thing she ever did. Called in to investigate her dis
June Ahern
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a CD gift to me. I had not read Henning Mankell books before and now I will read his other novels. A murder happens quickly in the story and the hunt for the killer by Detective Kurt Wallander becomes intense and actually obsessive by the policeman. The problem I had was the introduction of so many characters from another location with another plot. The turns, twist, intertwining and ultimately the knitting together of each character is a feat accomplished by the author. The plot is abo ...more
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of those books for which I stayed up late three nights in a row to read. Mankell's famous chief inspector Wallander is an interesting mess of a man: fundamentally pragmatic, noble, and kind-hearted but with patches of the naive and the childishly impulsive. This book in particular focuses on how he, a small-town Swedish policeman, is faced with the fact that globalization and more porous borders is affecting his everyday practice...and possibly his ethics. Is his Sweden changing for the bett ...more
Dolf Patijn
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this book in Dutch.
The Wallender series takes a big step forward here, with an incredibly ambitious effort involving Sweden, South Africa and the KGB in a story involving an assassination attempt on Nelson Mandela. I very much enjoyed the juxtaposition of cultures and characters in this novel. My only complaint was that it might have actually been TOO ambitious, which necessitated some plot twists that were rather unbelievable. That's a fairly small quibble given my enjoyment of the book.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable read. Writing about real historical figures is dangerous but Mankell does it well. Having a plot rest on incomprehensibly stupid mistakes made by various characters is dangerous, and that can’t be done well. But maybe what I thought were stupid mistakes weren’t stupid or mistakes; maybe the incidents fit in the mindset of Sweden, not such a rough place as the world of American crime stories. Wondering about this adds a humane element I am glad I came to suspect. The characters, espe ...more
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cathy by: Professor Sid Bolkosky ז"ל had Henning Mankell books on his reading pile for a long time, and I took an interest.
Shelves: mysteries, audiobook
Henning Mankell’s third Inspector Wallander mystery, The While Lioness, is a terrific blend of international thriller, human isolation and angst, and politics. Set at the end of South Africa’s Apartheid regime, after President de Klerk has called for an end to the racial laws governing the country and for free elections to follow, a group of Boers, Afrikaans, formed a secret committee to assassinate Nelson Mandela and create chaos in South Africa, thus allowing apartheid to continue.

A black Sou
“Tangent: Making contact at a single point or along a line; touching but not intersecting.”
– From

Henning Mankell’s “The White Lioness” is almost like 2 novels in one. On one side, we have the Swedish police investigating the murder of a Real Estate agent, along with a severed finger of someone of African descent. Investigation indicates that one of these actions, then both, are tied to a Russian thug who has entered the country. On the other side, we have a South Africa p
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Please combine 3 20 Jul 11, 2012 05:22AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Fire Engine That Disappeared  (Martin Beck, #5)
  • The Return (Inspector Van Veeteren #3)
  • Never End (Inspector Winter, #4)
  • Arctic Chill (Inspector Erlendur #7)
  • The Water's Edge (Konrad Sejer, #8)
See similar books…
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 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 Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries (Kurt Wallander, #9)
  • The Troubled Man (Kurt Wallander, #10)
“‎Not having time for a person, not being able to sit in silence together with somebody, that's the same as rejecting them, as being scornful about them.” 17 likes
“Unlike Tania, who was so slim, Rykoff looked as if he'd been given an order to get fat--an order he had been delighted to obey.” 2 likes
More quotes…