THE MAN FROM BEIJING - Henning Mankell
THE MAN FROM BEIJING is a standalone book from the author of the popular Kurt Wallender series, and if the discussions I've seen about it are any indication, it's guaranteed to polarise opinion.
Set in Hesjövallen, where something very very bad has happened, police are called to the village by researcher, Karsten Höglin, who arrived in the town to find that this quiet, mostly deserted little village in Sweden is the scene of a massacre.
Judge Brigitta Roslin has an unexpected connection to this place, when she discovers that two of the victims are her mother's adopted parents, but it is enough of a connection to give her an investigation to fill the emptiness she feels in her own life. Following the trail to China, in the face of police disinterest and her own families objections, she soons discovers an international connection and a nightmarish situation.
Possibly part of the reason for some readers dissatisfaction with this book could be the rather tentative connection that Brigitta has to the crime, and her motivation for suddenly dropping everything and heading off in pursuit of a solution. The other objection could very well be the politics that are built into the story. Neither of these aspects presented much of an issue for me, and as a reader, I found Brigitta's actions and reactions were something I was happy to accept. The political viewpoint that Mankell presents was also not unexpected, and I felt not heavy-handed.
I've got a number of standalone novels by Mankell salted away in MtTBR (aka the retirement fund), and if THE MAN FROM BEIJING is any hint, then I've got lots of books to look forward to.
Revenge can take more than a lifetime...
One cold January day the police are called to a sleepy little hamlet in the north of Sweden where they find the victim of a savage murder lying in the snow. As they begin their investigation they notice that the village seems eerily quiet and deserted. Going from house to house, looking for witnesses, they uncover a crime unprecedented in Swedish history.