Faceless Killers

Faceless killers is the first novel in Henning Mankell's Inspector Wallander sequence. It's a decent police procedural although there's not much evidence in the first novel of what a cult detective Wallander would become. There is however plenty of gritty Scandinavian realism.

A seemingly ordinary elderly couple in a rural community are brutally murdered by "foreigners". The dying words of the female victim provoke a backlash of racism, and there follows several attacks on immigrants to Sweden. Wallander is reluctant to believe that a foreigner is indeed responsible for the attacks (although it is never clear why Wallander thinks this), and when he discovers that the male victim has a hidden life, he goes on a wild goose chase to find the culprit.

Wallander, never the most sympathetic of characters, comes across as generally a most unsympathetic character in this his first outing. The basic plotline is fairly clever, and the solving of the mystery (a sudden inspiration on the part of Wallander) is very clever indeed. Altogether an enjoyable if not outstanding read for fans of Nordic Noir.


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