Lee Goldberg's Reviews > The Troubled Man

The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell
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Aug 15, 2012

it was ok
Read in August, 2012

I won't rehash the plot, others have done a fine job of that. My problem with the book is that Henning Mankell was astonishingly lazy with his plotting. He seems to have made up the plot as he went along, with no clear idea of where he was going or what the solution would be. There's a stunningly inane, unbelievable, and contrived coincidence a third of the way through the book that ultimately ends up being totally unnecessary. I can't understand why Mankell didn't cut it, because it asks for such a massive suspension of disbelief that it ruins the novel. There are other plotting problems, ones you'd expect from a novice rather than an accomplished pro like Mankell. Whenever Wallander has a gap in his knowledge, rather than come up with a clever and interesting way for the detective to find out what he needs to know, Mankell creates instant expository characters to conveniently give Wallander answers and then leave the stage, never to be seen again in the novel (ie, Wallander knows nothing about East Germany, so he creates an East German defector Wallander once knew that can give him a detailed lecture on the specific area of Wallanders interest. Or, in another example, Wallander knows nothing about Swedish naval history, so Mankell creates a childhood friend Wallander has lot touch with who just happens to be an expert on everything that has ever happened to any naval officer or their family members in the history of Sweden, including the details of their day-to-day calendars). As a mystery, this book is a big, and often frustrating, disappointment that comes to a very unsatisfying, clumsy conclusion. But the novel does work as a melancholy look into the life of Kurt Wallander, a lonely and sad policeman who feels his age and is losing his grasp on his memory.
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07/30/2016 marked as: read

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message 1: by Judy (new)

Judy Mann I agree 100%. I cannot figure out if it's lazyness or just impossibly sluggish.The whole book is so thick and dense.Good reveiw.JM


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