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The Man from Beijing

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  11,577 Ratings  ·  1,640 Reviews
The best-selling, award-winning author of the Kurt Wallander series delivers an incredible stand-alone masterpiece: a bone-chilling mystery that spans two centuries and four continents.
In the far north of Sweden a small, quiet village has been almost entirely wiped out by a mass murderer. The only clue left at the scene is a red ribbon. Among the victims are the grandpare
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 2008)
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Despite a bloody gore fest kicking off the action and a story that spans from 19th century America to present day China, Sweden, Africa and England, this ended up being about as interesting as a lecture on geopolitics from a semi-bright junior high student.

This book begins with the discovery of a massacre of almost the entire population of a tiny village in a remote area of Sweden. 19 people have been sliced and diced in various ways. Even the pets have been brutally killed. (Hey, Sweden. WTF? S
Steve Dennie
I cannot over-emphasize how disappinting this book was. It started out great: nearly everyone in a small village in cold and snowy northern Sweden is massacred, a hideous scene. A woman deputy is introduced, then a woman with a connection to some of the victims. Then Mankell takes us back to a the American West, where some Chinese immigrants find themselves serving as slave laborers on the continental railroad. I was fully engrossed.

But I don’t think Mankell really thought through where he wante
Apr 22, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've heard a lot about Henning Mankell from others that know I am an aficionado of Nordic mysteries, so I was excited when a friend passed this along for me to read. My enthusiasm was premature. If I was to use this book to pass my final judgement on Mankell as an author, I'm afraid I would be rather harsh. There were hints through this book of the thriller that could have been -- compelling, fast-paced, filled with interesting characters -- but these are drowned in extended polemics about the h ...more
Oct 09, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the worst books I've ever read. Maybe I should back up and say that I don't like crime fiction and that the only reason I read this book is that it was given to me as a gift from my in-laws (who I now respect less for recommending this garbage. I kid. Sort of).

Internationally bestselling novelist? This is a joke, right? The author is in serious need of a thesaurus because you can only read the same descriptive phrase so many times in a single page, let alone paragraph (perhaps th
Nancy Oakes
It's not exactly 3 stars, maybe a little bit more. Are we EVER going to get the extra 1/2 star ability?

The opening scenes of this book are positively chilling, when at first a hungry wolf, away from its pack, is searching for food around the tiny village of Hesjövallen and chances upon a human leg. Then later, a researcher looking into the phenomenon of small towns and villages that are simply dying out stumbles upon the scene of a massacre -- with the exception of three people, everyone person
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wen Ho Lee
Henning Mankell is a bad writer. This can be overlooked in books like Faceless Killers and The Man Who Smiled, where plot and character are everything and the dyspeptic charms of Inspector Wallander, coupled with Sweden's gloomy weather, delight us. The Man From Beijing lacks Wallander and lots of other things. The dialogue could not be any more wooden. Here's a Chinese woman telling the protagonist, Swedish judge Birgitta Roslin, that the West is not happy that China was so advanced at one time ...more
Gerry Claes
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is no question that China has become an economic powerhouse. The question is, is it a communist country, a capitalist country or both? This book looks at those in China who who want China to adhere to the principals of Chairman Mao and place the well being of the masses above all else and those in China who have become capitalists and are hell bent on amassing wealth no matter what the cost.

All of this is played out starting with a massacre in a small Swedish town that makes no sense and b
May 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This novel did not live up to its very ambitious premise. Mankell seems to have set out to spin a mystery that swept across continents and generations, and that created connections between the most unconnected of individuals. His ambition far exceeded his execution, making me wonder if this is yet another example of publishing houses rushing books to print without taking the time to properly foster and edit them. This read more like a draft -- albeit a late draft -- than a completed novel. There ...more
Armin Hennig
31/100 Zwei Sterne gnadenhalber für einen ziemlich weit hergeholten Krimi auf vier Kontinenten mit den allerbesten Absichten, für Australien und die Antarktis hat's wohl nicht mehr gereicht.
Besonders lästig war dieser von Schweden nach London verlegte Showdown. Vielleicht wurden bei der Kürzung fürs Hörbuch ein paar besonders feine Erzählfäden zerschnitten, aber längere Partien machten auf mich den Eindruck als hätte der Autor halt täglich seine Meilen gemacht, ohne weiter auf die Qualität oder
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed in this book. It's like Mr. Mankell suddenly decided to write something about China politics, and had to fabricate a plot to support his subject. The plot is disjointed, and the few loosely connected acts of violence do little to support it. The protagonist, a female Swedish judge, has the requisite existential angst seemingly required in Swedish detective novels, but floats in a cloud of vague dread and foreboding throughout most of the book. She's aware something is wrong, ...more
Quân Khuê
Dĩ nhiên Mankell luôn biết cách kể chuyện, và do đó ta có thể tha thứ cho quá nhiều tình tiết không hợp lý trong cuốn này. Mankell có vẻ đã tự làm khó mình khi cố kết nối những sự kiện quá xa nhau về không gian và thời gian. Những nỗ lực như thế nếu thành công sẽ vô tiền khoáng hậu, còn nếu thất bại thì cũng không lạ lắm. Nhiều người có vẻ không thích khi Mankell mở rộng biên độ của truyện trinh thám (cuốn này khó có thể nói là trinh thám điển hình), nhưng phần tôi, thì tôi thích khi Mankell mở ...more
Stephen Gallup
It is possible to like a book and be disappointed with it at the same time. That's the way I feel about The Man From Beijing.

The parts that work best are those when one character is being stalked by another, especially when Hong Qiu suspects that her psychopathic brother Ya Ru plans to kill her, and when the main character, Birgitta Roslin, realizes the killer is now coming for her. The mood in both sections is pretty creepy.

So the story has appeal (assuming you like the genre). But now for the
So far, this is my favorite Mankell's book. I really liked the plot and his back-forward style.

4* Meurtriers sans visage
4* La cinquième femme
2* Le cerveau de Kennedy
4* The Man Who Smiled
4* The Dogs of Riga
4* O Homem de Beijing
TBR The Troubled Man
TBR A Treacherous Paradise
TBR The White Lioness
TBR Sidetracked
TBR One Step Behind
TBR Firewall
TBR The Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Meg by: Entertainment Weekly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tony O'brien
I have to point out at the outset that I can’t really write a proper review of this book without including a few spoilers, so if you haven’t read it yet, maybe it would be best to leave this review until after you have.

I have read several of Mankell’s Wallander books and am currently working my way through the series, thoroughly enjoying them as I go. The blurb for The Man from Beijing sounded fascinating so I decided to give Wallander a break and read this latest standalone novel. I finished it
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, thriller

Henning is back to his true form in this one, even if the premise stretches credulity just a bit. Can't elaborate on that too much without doing a spoiler alert, but suffice to say that the root cause of a mass murder in a tiny Swedish village requires a pathological thirst for revenge that is hard to make fit with the man behind it, given everything he has to lose.

But it gives Mankell a great opportunity to explore Chinese history, and particularly the story of two brothers who are driven by po
Laura C.
Feb 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I loved the Wallander series on PBS with Kenneth Branagh as the gray and brittle detective, Wallander. (I mean - who does not love Kenneth Branagh?) This novel is by Henning Mankell, who also wrote the Wallander novels upon which that series is based. This story begins with a wolf. Then there is a horrific murder. For me, two things pervade this novel. One is the curious refusal of the main character, Birgitta Roslin, a judge in Sweden, to tell anyone in her family about the unusual events that ...more
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mankell reaches a little for the premise in this mystery, and succeeds somewhat. It could be an interesting prod to inventiveness in a writing class: include China in your next writing assignment. This mystery becomes a little unwieldy and farfetched when it goes back over several continents and several generations in Part 2, but Mankell comes back in Part 3 to something much more interesting: a discussion of the economic and political changes taking place in a rapidly modernizing China, and a s ...more
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's been a while since I've read a Mankell book. He's one of my favorite authors, and after reading Beijing, I have to put his books into more heavy rotation. A small community in Sweden is massacred. A female judge who is related - but not by blood - to those who have been murdered becomes involved. Hankell has a way of capturing our post-modern angst as it's filtered through these horrendous crimes. He does it again against the backdrop of the dramatic economic rise of China. Europe and the U ...more
Roderick Hart
May 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this is a crime novel it is also a wide-ranging and ambitious book, connecting events in Sweden with the neo-colonialist activity of the Chinese in Africa.

The starting point is a series of murders all occurring in the same night in a remote Swedish village. The local police believe that the murderer was a deranged Swedish man who commits suicide while in custody. However a visiting judge, Birgitta Roslin, who has connections with some of the victims, comes to the view that the murders wer
May 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mankell, Henning. THE MAN FROM BEIJING. (2008; English tranlation, 2010). ****. This is not an Inspector Kurt Wallander mystery, but is a stand-alone novel from this remarkable Swedish writer. My first reaction to the book was slightly negative; I was looking forward to going another round with Wallander. When I finally reached the end of the book and was more rational about what I had read, I decided that this was a very good mystery/thriller novel, although it attempted to be much more. In a s ...more
May 12, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I freely admit that I am one of those people that tends to think in outline form. I like things to flow in a logical manner. At times, this book made me feel like I was listening to my four year old nephew tell me about a movie. It was here, there, and all over the place, meandering into circumstances in China, Africa, the history of Mao's policies, etc. There were parts where I found myself wondering: did this book have an editor? If so, where were they? I mean, the background of the guy ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Beginning the book from the viewpoint of a starving wolf who finds a murder victim was brilliant. Unfortunately, continuing to vary the viewpoints with such frequency was an unfortunate decision that prevents The Man from Beijing from what could have been a great novel. Changing the point of view from character to character and jumping in time and geographical location are both techniques that should be used to keep the reader's attention--and they do. However, doing it too often and between too ...more
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
The current state of politics in China is the main theme of this novel. It is more of a poli sci lecture on various forms of government than a mystery involving hostilities between family members. It is about corruption within the Chinese government and a desire for economic dominance in Africa while also outlining the history of what a Chinese government official calls fascist governments in Rhodesia and the history of the imperialistic regimes of the English. The story is practically written l ...more
Mr. Gottshalk
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I set a goal of reading 75 books this year (2016) and with 33 minutes left in the year, I did it (woot woot)! First of all, I know the reviews of this Mankell novel are all over the place. But you cannot deny the fact that the man can tell a riveting, engaging tale, spanning several seemingly disjointed settings. This one had a beginning like gangbusters (a small village in northern Sweden experiences 19 murders in the same night), slowed down dramatically as the plot moved from Sweden to China ...more
Ann Nicholas
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps it's my ongoing thrall with Nordic noir but I loved this story. It starts out as a modern police procedural in what has become a familiar setting: Snow, then switches to a historical novel set on the California/Nevada border in the mid-1800s. This shift spurs the brain to seek connection between the two. Before we know it, and very organically, Mankell shifts our focus to contemporary China where possible means and motives begin to appear. Mankell layers in many of the current political ...more
Janine Van
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detectives
In afgelegen dorp in Zweden zijn bijna alle inwoners gruwelijk afgeslacht. Birgitta Roslin, rechter in Helsinborg, komt er bij toeval achter dat meeste slachtoffers familie van haar zijn en dat ook familie in Amerika is vermoord. Dan verschuift perspectief naar 100 jaar eerder waar drie arme Chinese broers bruut geronseld worden voor werk aan spoorlijn in Amerika. Slechts 1 broer overleeft en wil zich wreken op meest wrede opzichter. Hij schrijft zijn hele verhaal in dagboek. Terug naar nu: Birg ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not your typical Henning Mankell novel

But still extremely well written at Mankell's very deliberate pace and with his delectable clarity. It is indeed a complicated plot covering about 150 years and 4 continents but never fear; it is still understandable. The novel is a little bit light on the suspense side of things but it still kept my interest due to shifts between time periods and cultures
Elizabeth Quinn
As a crime novel, this book is a real stinker. Mankell apparently intends it as a fictional polemic and employs a Scandinavian variation on the Hollywood stereotype of the "wily Chinese." As fiction and as politics, the book fails to persuade. The story opens with a terrible crime -- the slaughter and dismemberment of 19 people in a tiny and remote village in northern Sweden. The central character is Judge Birgitta Roslin, who realizes that her mother grew up in the village as the foster daughte ...more
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Did anyone else find this a let down? 19 77 Apr 10, 2017 08:57AM  
Goodreads Librari...: please merge these 2 books 2 144 May 15, 2012 12:57PM  
  • The Locked Room (Martin Beck, #8)
  • The Shadow Woman (Inspector Winter #2)
  • Berättelse om herr Roos (Barbarotti #3)
  • Bortom sanningen (Hanne Wilhelmsen, #7)
  • The Demon of Dakar
  • Operation Napoleon
  • The Water's Edge (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #8)
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...

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“The evil always comes from details.” 13 likes
“Poverty always looks the same, no matter where you come across it. The rich can always express their opulence by varying their lives. Different houses, clothes, cars. Or thoughts, dreams. But for the poor there is nothing but compulsory grayness, the only form of expression available to poverty.” 7 likes
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