Jennie's Reviews > The Dogs of Riga

The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell
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Feb 02, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: mystery, thriller
Read in February, 2012

Kurt Wallander, Swedish detective, is inexplicably sent to Latvia to investigate the death of a Latvian police officer who was killed ...in Latvia.

Wallander doesn't know why he's in Latvia. Henning Mankell doesn't appear to know why Wallander is in Latvia. I don't know why Wallander is in Latvia. After 300 pages of Wallander being driven around Latvia, being cold, eating omelettes, drinking coffee, wandering around with a map, and sitting around asking himself why he's in Latvia, I don't actually care. The subplot of shadowy...whatever they were...freedom fighters...? made no sense whatsoever (seriously, he's investigating the death of a police officer and he voluntarily lets himself be taken around by guys who throw hoods over his head? To hang out with people with whom he can barely communicate in bad English? Who does that?), and the other subplot with the love interest was ridiculous. Wallander is 40-ish, not 14.

I should have paid attention to my instinct to drop this in the discard pile, but I was determined to ride it out. I'm going to pay attention to my instincts from now on.
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02/26/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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Tzatz My thoughts exactly!

I mean, he sees a girl and then ... falls in love?!

Anyway, I read it just to improve my German ein bisschen! (Although Mankell is from Sweden!)


Kris Karlson Tzatz That part really annoyed me too! It came out of nowhere! I don't think I can be bothered to finish this one...


Brandon Don't forget the scene where he has diarrhea in the waste basket. Huh?


Jennie Oh my god I must have blanked that out from the trauma. Thank you so much for the fresh visual!


Victor And his love interest is a widow of only 1 week. But the plot has him wanting her to move to Sweden with him !


message 6: by Robert (new)

Robert Bayley Lol. So why was he in Latvia?


Jennie Robert wrote: "Lol. So why was he in Latvia?"

I'm pretty sure it might have something to do with omelettes. I hear they really take their folded scrambled eggs seriously over there.


message 8: by Robert (new)

Robert Bayley Jennie wrote: "Robert wrote: "Lol. So why was he in Latvia?"

I'm pretty sure it might have something to do with omelettes. I hear they really take their folded scrambled eggs seriously over there."

That is some plot element. :)


Jennie Robert wrote: "Jennie wrote: "Robert wrote: "Lol. So why was he in Latvia?"

I'm pretty sure it might have something to do with omelettes. I hear they really take their folded scrambled eggs seriously over there...."


I was spellbound, believe me. And the part where he drank coffee? I haven't been so enraptured since Santiago held a fishing pole for 742 pages. Give or take.


Holly Mascaro I am past halfway in this book and was struggling against giving it up - but this review completely echoes what I'm feeling so I think I'm going to go ahead and save my time and put it towards another book.


Graeme Purves I found it difficult to believe that Henning Mankell had ever been in Riga. It felt nothing like the city I know.


Jennie Holly wrote: "I am past halfway in this book and was struggling against giving it up - but this review completely echoes what I'm feeling so I think I'm going to go ahead and save my time and put it towards anot..."

Sorry, I only just saw your comment. Did you give up? I haven't read another one of his books since then. I started to say that I was just burned out on the whole Scandinavian mystery trend, but then I remembered that I love the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbø.


Jennie Graeme wrote: "I found it difficult to believe that Henning Mankell had ever been in Riga. It felt nothing like the city I know."

I've never been. I really never could understand why this book was set there - it made absolutely no sense.


Graeme Purves Jennie wrote: "I've never been. I really never could understand why this book was set there - it made absolutely no sense."

I suppose it seemed like a good idea at the time. With Latvia, a former Swedish possession, having recently gained independence, Riga offered an exotic new location. The problem for me is that the grim and sinister picture he paints of the city is larded with Soviet-era cliché. It captures nothing of the optimistic spirit of the time.


Jennie Graeme wrote: "I suppose it seemed like a good idea at the time. With Latvia, a former ..."

Ahh, that's why I didn't notice anything particularly out of order with the descriptions. I grew up on 70's & 80's American film depictions of Eastern European/Communist countries. To this day I have to consciously remind myself that no, everyone didn't wear drab grey uniforms all the time and spend half the day in marching drills.


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