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Henning Mankell's "The Fifth Woman" is another outstanding Wallender police procedure murder mystery,
This review is from: The Fifth Woman (A Kurt Wallander Mystery) (Paperback)
With all the hoopla about the Stieg Larsson triology I became interested in other Swedish crime novelists. One of the best is Henning Mankell. His novels about the detective Kurt Wallender who lives and works for the small police department of Ystad in southern Sweden are excellent police procedurals and character studies of fascinating people set against the background of a cold and forbidding landscape. It is as if Phillip Marlowe left the sun splattered streets of Los Angeles to join Ingmar Bergman on a film shoot in Sweden! (Mankell is a son of law of the late Swedish film director).
The Fifth Woman opens in Africa. Four nuns and a Swedish woman are brutally murdered by assailants who break into a convent. Who is she and how is she connected to brutal murders back in Sweden?
The first murder victim is Holger Eriksson. He is impaled on bamboo poles located in a ditch near his isolated home. Eriksson is a bird watcher who is single and aloof. He is a retired car dealer who was quite wealthy.
The second person murdered is Gosta Runfelt. He is found strangled to death with his body bound by ropes in a Swedish forest. Runfelt is the owner of a flower shop whose passion is orchids. He is killed while making plans for a trip to Kenya to see orchids.
The third victim is a man named Blomberg. He is tied up in a bag and tossed to a grisly death under an ice packed lake.
What is the link between the murder victims? Is a single killer responsible for the crimes? Is the murderer a man or a woman? It is answers to these queries that Wallender must answer to solve the horrible crimes.
Wallender and his team at police headquarters have a difficult task in connecting this crimes which have been well planned and executed by a diabolical serial killer. Disturbing secrets are revealed in the course of the narrative about the three men who were so brutally murdered.
Kurt Wallender is in late middle age. He is divorced from Mona and has a grown daughter named Linda who is a student is Stockholm. He has a lover named Baiba who lives in Latvia whom he met during the novel "The Dogs of Riga."He often longs for Baiba to marry him so he can settle down with a labrador puppy and retire from police work.He is an introspective and often morose person who is well drawn by Mankell. His artist father dies shortly after accompanying Wallender on a sightseeing trip to Rome.
This is an excellent novel for those who enjoy gripping crime stories which are well written.