The Fifth Woman: Kurt Wallander

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9780099535294: The Fifth Woman: Kurt Wallander

Four nuns and a fifth woman, a visitor to Africa, are killed in a savage night-time attack. Months later in Sweden, the news of the unexplained tragedy sets off a cruel vengeance for these killings.

Inspector Kurt Wallander is home from an idyllic holiday in Rome, full of energy and plans for the future. Autumn settles in, and Wallander prays the winter will be peaceful. But when he investigates the disappearance of an elderly birdwatcher he discovers a gruesome and meticulously planned murder - a body impaled in a trap of sharpened bamboo poles. Then another man is reported missing. And once again Wallander's life is on hold as he and his team work tirelessly to find a link between the series of vicious murders. Making progress through dogged police work and forever battling to make sense of the violence of modern Sweden, Wallander leads a massive investigation to find a killer whose crimes are the product of new realities that make the Inspector despair.

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Review:

A series of men who seem to have nothing in common are brutally killed--one is impaled, another starved and then strangled. We know more than the police--we know that the killer is a woman and we gradually understand some of her motivation; her much wronged mother was murdered almost by chance in a North African country--but we don't know who she is, or, for a while at least, her motives and principles of selection of her victims. Inspector Wallender finds himself investigating the case--two missing person enquiries that turn into a murder hunt--and finds himself endlessly confused by red herrings and side issues; a set of leads concerning mercenaries in the Congo of the 1960s turn out to have little to do with the case and Wallender has to waste considerable time suppressing an attempt by the far Right to turn the murders into a reason to set up vigilante justice. The Fifth Woman is a stylish police procedural which lets us see not only the leg work of investigation but also the diligence which makes effective murder possible--the killer Wallender is trying to catch is at least as good at her job of murder as he is at his of prevention. -- Roz Kaveney

Review:

"Sweden's lord of criminal misrule" ( Independent)

"The novels become a compulsion - one reads them all" ( Daily Telegraph)

"Mankell is one of the most ingenious crime writers around. Highly recommended" ( Observer)

"By far the best writer of police mysteries today" ( Michael Ondaatje)

"The real test of thrillers of this kind is whether you want to spend more time in the detective's company. I certainly do" (Sean French Independent)

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