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The Man from Beijing [Kindle Edition]

Henning Mankell , Laurie Thompson
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (281 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $10.03
You Save: $4.97 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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 grandparents of Judge Birgitta Roslin, who sets out to find the killer. Despite being brushed off by the police, Birgitta is determined to prove that the murders were not a random act of violence but are part of something far more dark and complex. Her investigation leads to the highest echelons of power and into the recesses of history where the seeds of evil deeds were planted.  

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A massacre in the remote Swedish village of Hesjövallen propels this complex, if diffuse, stand-alone thriller from Mankell (The Pyramid). Judge Birgitta Roslin, whose mother grew up in the village, comes across diaries from the house of one of the 19 mostly elderly victims kept by Jan Andrén, an immigrant ancestor of Roslin's. The diaries cover Andrén's time as a foreman on the building of the transcontinental railroad in the United States. An extended flashback charts the journey of a railroad worker, San, who was kidnapped in China and shipped to America in 1863. After finding evidence linking a mysterious Chinese man to the Hesjövallen murders, Roslin travels to Beijing, suspecting that the motive for the horrific crime is rooted in the past. While each section, ranging in setting from the bleak frozen landscape of northern Sweden to modern-day China bursting onto the global playing field, compels, the parts don't add up to a fully satisfying whole. Author tour. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Critics generally agree that Mankell's stand-alone thriller--a combination of police procedural and geopolitical novel--lives up to the best of the Kurt Wallander series. Piercing into its inquiries into corruption, revenge, as well as imperialism, Communism, racism, and other evil "isms," The Man from Beijing reaches for deeper truths about humanity and largely succeeds. Some reviewers identified a few missteps, with the Spectator criticizing the wandering narrative and polemical tone. But in the end, the novel just may, as the Los Angeles Times noted, "cement Mankell's reputation as Sweden's greatest living mystery writer."

Product Details

  • File Size: 622 KB
  • Print Length: 466 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307472841
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (February 16, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00338QELU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,077 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
190 of 202 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Although this quotation of Chairman Mao's is not to be found in Henning Mankell's The Man from Beijing the book is filled with politics and bloodshed.

I've enjoyed Henning Mankell's Inspector Kurt Wallander series and have read most of the books in that series. With that in mind, I turned to Mankell's newest book The Man from Beijing with great interest. This is a stand-alone book not connected with the series. The Man from Beijing was well worth reading even if didn't quite live up to my admittedly high expectations.

High Points

Mankell has put together an entertaining plot. Nineteen people have been brutally murdered in a remote village in Sweden. The opening scenes are set out in terse matter-of-fact manner that accentuates the horrors being described. It soon becomes apparent to Birgitta Roslin, a middle-aged judge in the city of Helsingborg, that she has ancestral ties to the village. Slowly but surely Roslin becomes ensnared in the subsequent investigation of the crime. The story moves across the world from Sweden to China, to Africa and then back to Sweden. Mankell does a very good job keeping the story line moving forward. His writing style is well-suited to this type of story. He is not effusive and he does not waste words. He sets a scene well and I found it hard to put the book down.

In both his Inspector Wallander series and in The Man from Beijing Mankell does a terrific job in placing a story in the context of the world around us. He does not write within the bubble of a genre but writes as if the story really is taking place in the world outside. As I read the chapters set in China and Africa, I got the feeling that in this regard Mankell shares some literary DNA with John le Carre, particularly le Carre's later works.
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70 of 77 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This stand-alone novel from the acclaimed Swedish creator of the popular Wallander detective novels (that have also been filmed in an excellent series starring Kenneth Branagh) tells the tale of a horrific crime, a truly fiendish and frightening killer and a middle-aged judge who believes the police have it all wrong and sets out to solve it on her own. The writing is crisp and well paced and downright riveting for the first two-thirds of the book, although one does tend to wonder a bit about all the coincidences it takes to keep things moving along.

Then, at around a hundred or so pages from the end, the story suddenly veers off into an examination of the politics, conflicts and corruption connected to China's rise to superpower status. A long side trip into Africa--which it appears China is trying to turn into a satellite continent where it can dump its poor and potentially rebellious peasants and ensure there'll never be another Tiananmen Square, and where we're also given to believe that Zimbabwe's dictator Mugabe is nowhere near as bad a bad guy as we in the west have been led to believe--becomes a long and largely disruptive diversion from the main story.

By the time the author shifts gears again and gets back to Sweden and the crime at the heart of his novel, the story has gotten so far off course that it just sort of flounders its way to an unsatisfying ending, with way too many strings left loose. 3.5 stars.
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131 of 150 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars None More Bleak February 7, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
You can understand how Sweden has above-average rates for alcoholism and suicide, if Henning Mankell's book descriptions are typical of the country. Most of the time his scenery is covered in snow, cold and drear. Urban scenes have relentless sodium-vapor lighting, and he rarely remarks on how beautiful the country can be.

Obviously, he deals with crime, and you can't be sentimental, especially in this case, where there are nineteen dead bodies, brutally killed, in a hamlet of old people. The description is clearly expressed, with little place for any emotions. It seems that the killer had intended for the victims to die in painful ways, often in front of each other.

While the local police struggle to find clues or a motive, the case attracts the attention of Birgitta Roslin, a district judge in the city of Helsingborg, who realizes that she is distantly related to some of the victims. She visits the scene of the crime and runs across the attention of the local police, who are understandably unwilling to let someone, even a judge, dig around the hamlet. What Birgitta does find is a diary kept in a drawer, written in the mid- to late-eighteen hundreds, by one of her ancestors who went to the U.S.A. to be in charge of the Chinese workers building the transcontinental railroad.

From this Birgitta realizes that the motive for the murders may have come from the descendants of the Chinese workers to avenge the way they were treated. We read the story of two of them and their mistreatment by Jan Andren who ruled the Chinese with a rod of iron and was known as Mr. JA. One of the Chinese develops a hatred for Mr. JA and swears that he will "Kill that man when the time is right." In the meantime they are forced to work on the railroad track in the snow-covered mountains.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable plot and politics March 10, 2010
Although I'm always will to suspend disbelief for a good mystery, the plot of the The Man from Beijing was so nonsensical I found suspension impossible. The main character goes blundering around for no real reason other than to further the plot. She stumbles over coincidence after coincidence while waxing nostaligc about wanting to join the Red Guard in the 60's.

The reason for the book's horrific murders is weak at best. And the information about China is not always correct. The Chinese were not melting forks in backyard smelters during the Great Leap Forward. They don't use forks.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book Mankell has written so far!
Words cannot express how much I enjoyed this book. I cannot fathom how anyone could have come up with such an intricate plot and then have written it so exquisitely. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Sarah E. Everett
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read. My wife likes it also
Good read. My wife likes it also.
Published 3 days ago by John W. Irwin
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
Well written with an intriguing plot. A lot of history of China, past and present, written from a fairly unbiased viewpoint. Read more
Published 10 days ago by !@#$%L.L.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book
Love this book! It's not Wallander, but it's as good, and Mankell presents his characters with all their foibles for us to enjoy as the mystery is solved. Read more
Published 11 days ago by C. Daniel
1.0 out of 5 stars It was that bad. The English translation was only part of the ...
Couldn't get through this. It was that bad. The English translation was only part of the problem. The view of America could only come out of someone who only guesses what life is... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Waterfall
4.0 out of 5 stars The Man From Beinjing
Henning Mankell is a masterful writer and his protagonist, Brigitta Roslin, is as well-drawn as his more famous creation, Kurt Wallander. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sheila Abrams
2.0 out of 5 stars This was the worst. While the investigative aspects were moderately...
I have read at least 8 or 9 of Mankell's books and have read literally hundreds of detective novels, including all of James, Dexter, Christie, Todd, etc. This was the worst. Read more
Published 1 month ago by James H. Abbs
4.0 out of 5 stars It was a good read, though
The character is not as strong as inspector Walander's. The plot is OK. I've read all H. Mankell's book and I felt something was missing from this one. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Emma Arnaud B
4.0 out of 5 stars From Sweden to China
Well written story covering a long space of time with numerous different countries involved. The loops ends at the close are neatly tied up.
Published 2 months ago by Rish
4.0 out of 5 stars great mystery
Great story even though things were tied together a bid to the end. Interesting characters and plot. Got interested in Mankell the Walander books and television shows. Read more
Published 2 months ago by D John Watson
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More About the Author

Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander mysteries are global bestsellers and have been adapted for television as a BAFTA Award-winning BBC series starring Kenneth Branagh. Mankell was awarded the Crime Writers' Association's Macallan Gold Dagger and the German Tolerance Prize, among many others. He divides his time between Sweden and Mozambique.

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