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The Troubled Man (Random House Large Print) Paperback – Large Print, March 29, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In Mankell's masterful 11th novel featuring Kurt Wallander (and likely the last in this internationally bestselling series, according to Sonny Mehta's note to the reader), the 60-year-old Swedish detective unofficially pursues a baffling case that's part mystery, part spy thriller. At the 75th birthday party for Håkan von Enke (the "troubled man" of the title), von Enke, a retired Swedish naval commander, tells Wallander about a 1980 incident involving an unidentified submarine that "invaded Swedish territorial waters." Von Enke was about to fire depth charges to bring the sub to the surface when higher-ups ordered him to abort. A few days after von Enke confides in the detective, he disappears; shortly after, his wife goes missing as well. As Wallander's quest for the truth leads him back to the era of cold war espionage, Mankell (Firewall) deftly interweaves the problems of Swedish society with the personal challenges of one man trying to understand what happened and why. 150,000 first printing; 5-city author tour. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Readers whose knowledge of Scandinavian crime fiction goes beyond Stieg Larsson know that it was Henning Mankell who jump-started what has developed into a 20-year golden age. Mankell’s latest novel, the final volume in his Kurt Wallander series, represents a landmark moment in the genre comparable to the swan songs of Ian Rankin’s John Rebus (Exit Music, 2008) and John Harvey’s Charlie Resnick (Cold in Hand, 2008). We pick up Wallander’s story with the aging inspector feeling his 60-plus years and suffering from memory problems that lead to his suspension from the Ystad police force. With time on his hands, Wallander throws himself into solving the disappearance of his daughter’s father-in-law, a former Swedish submarine commander obsessed with an incident from the 1980s involving the detection of Soviet submarines in Swedish waters. Wallander’s digging into the commander’s life leads toward what appears to be a cold war scandal that could rock the current government. As Wallander strives to determine if the commander’s public persona bears any relation to his private self, he launches another, more poignant investigation into his own past. Has he always been the man he feels he has become—“filled with self-pity, a thoroughly pathetic figure”—or does his past tell a different story? This is a deeply melancholy novel, at times painful to read, but Mankell, sweeping gracefully between reflections on international politics and meditations on the inevitable arc of human life, never lets his story become engulfed by darkness. Always a reticent man, Wallander shows an intensity of emotion here, a last gasp of felt life, that is both moving and oddly inspiring. An unforgettable series finale. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The swan song of a much-loved series is always a big event, and thanks to the PBS series based on the Wallander novels, this one has some extra frisson. Expect off-the-book-page coverage on NPR and major print outlets as well as a widespread online advertising campaign. --Bill Ott --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Random House Large Print
  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Large Print; Lrg edition (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739378112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739378113
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (315 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,508,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

I finished reading the book last night.
MaryG
Apparently, The Troubled Man, is Henning Mankell's last book in the Kurt Wallander series.
Friederike Knabe
I was very intrigued by the plot, the characters and the fascinating historical aspects.
Igor Dumbadze

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

164 of 180 people found the following review helpful By Frank J. Konopka VINE VOICE on March 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've enjoyed the Kurt Wallander series of books for many years, and have read as Kurt went from a young patrolman to, now, a 60 year old man with various illnesses. Being older than that myself, I can sympathize with him over his debilitations, and his fear of looming death. These things are all part of this excellent book.

The plot concerns the future in-laws of his daughter Linda, who both disappear, apparently without any particular reason. Even though the disappearances are not within his police jurisdiction, because of the family ties Kurt gets involved in trying to find them, and what happened and why. The past history of Sweden and the Cold War plays an important role in the plot, one of the more intriguing plots Mr. Mankell has devised for his detective.

I don't want to give anything away for the sake of future readers, except to say that the big "shock" when it comes near the end wasn't really a surprise to me, and shouldn't be to anyone who's paying close attention to the plot. The fact that it took Wallander months to determine what was happening may be traced to his age and illnesses.

This appears to be Kurt's last case about which we will read, but I hope not, although the author seems rather adamant that it will be so. I'm sorry for that, and I will miss these excellent novels, and the characters I have grown to know and like, very much.
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106 of 118 people found the following review helpful By lilian on April 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to write a comment without including some spoilers.

Like so many others, I yearned for another Wallander story, and when it finally came, I could not wait to read it. However, when I closed the covers of what appears to be the last of the Wallanders, I was disappointed. In this book, Wallander is a tired, dispirited 60 year old man with serious health issues, who dreads a future of loneliness. He acts and thinks like a far older man. There was some meanspiritedness in the way that former important characters were dealt with, including some views about his own father's paintings. What glimmers of optimism and hope that can be gleaned, are found in his new grandchild. The plot was not very solid and there was a lot of traveling back and forth (there has been a lot of that in Mr. Mankell's recent novels). Just as you were getting into the rhythm of the story, he'd be off on another journey. I came to feel sorry for his dog, Jussi, always being left with the neighbors.

The story was touching and there was much of the fine writing that had propelled the series to international fame. Of course people age and life's disappointments accumulate and weigh a person down. One expects this. But the mood of the book was sad and almost unrelentingly hopeless. Did Mr. Mankell himself become tired of his hero? Did he resent the clamoring for yet another Wallander book and decide to punish his character and his readers all at the same time? I don't insist on a happy ending, but I can't help but think that the readers who came to love these stories and who liked and admired the character, deserved a better finale than this.
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79 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Rett01 VINE VOICE on March 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A better title for Henning Mankell's newest mystery might be "The Troubled Men." The novel, the series' 11th, is the first Kurt Wallander story in more than a decade and according to a note at the beginning it is likely to be the last investigation for the Ystad, Sweden, Detective Chief Inspector.

Set in the present day, the story has not one but two very worried old men struggling to resolve their past while facing an uncertain and, for them, frightening future. The first is a retired Swedish naval commander Hakan von Enke, who at 75 is the "troubled man" of the title.

Von Enke's son Hans and Wallander's daughter Linda are living together and have given Wallander his first grandchild, a girl. At a birthday party he has thrown for himself, the elder von Enke confides to Wallander details of a maritime incident in the 1980s involving a foreign submarine, suspected to be Russian, invading Swedish territorial waters.

Von Enke commanded the Swedish destroyer given the order to launch depth charges to bring the foreign sub to the surface. At the very last minute someone high within the military or Swedish government, perhaps the prime minister, contravened those orders.

For the ensuing three decades von Enke has been doggedly determined to find out who was responsible for aborting the action and allowing the foreign sub to slip through the net. Now, he tells Wallander he may be closing in on answers, which may have implications that rock international relations and threaten the Swedish government. Shortly afterward he vanishes, leaving behind everything but clues. A few months later von Enke's wife Louise also goes missing without a trace.

The second troubled man is Wallander, now 60, who is distressed by the infirmities of age and of being alone.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jack Tierney on July 26, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In the last year, I became a fan of Henning Mankell's series of Swedish mystery novels featuring his iconic character, detective Kurt Wallander. As fans of the series know, Mankell decided to bring the series to an end, publishing the last of his Wallander books, "The Troubled Man," in late March. I wish I could say that it's a worthy end to the series; alas, it's not.

In this book, Wallander is weighted down throughout by his sense of the encroachment of old age (but he's only 60!) and a weakening of his mental powers. The melancholy this sense stirs up pervades the whole book. The central narrative involves Wallander's efforts to discover what happened to a former Swedish submarine commander and his wife, both of whom suddenly disappear without a trace. As things unfold, the wife's body is soon discovered and Wallander deduces the whereabouts of the husband. The investigation takes Wallander deep into spy plots and Cold War espionage. None of it is particularly suspenseful or interesting. And the whole plot seems draggy and tired (like poor Wallander himself). Worst of all, after he wraps the whole thing up rather hastily, Mankell ends up disposing of our beloved hero/detective with one lousy paragraph. Talk about a rude send-off!
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