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The Pyramid: The Kurt Wallander Stories

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The story of Kurt Wallander's beginnings, told in five gripping short mysteries.
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Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries

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Overview

The story of Kurt Wallander's beginnings, told in five gripping short mysteries.
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Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
It may be heretical to say this, but Henning Mankell could put off even the most loyal reader with the polemical tone he often takes in his novels. That being said, The Pyramid is sure to bring any alienated fans stampeding back into the fold.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

The five stories in this outstanding collection from Mankell (Faceless Killers) provide glimpses into Kurt Wallander's early life as a policeman as well as paint evocative portraits of contemporary Swedish society. An unremarkable businessman is poisoned in "The Man on the Beach" but-in typical Mankell fashion-the case is larger, more complex and more interesting than it first appears. In the volume's best entry, "The Death of the Photographer," Simon Lamberg takes studio portraits of weddings and children, but a couple of nights each week, he uses his darkroom to distort published photographs of politicians and newsworthy people for a macabre personal scrapbook. It's a bizarre hobby, but the cause of Lamberg's brutal, apparently senseless death is an even stranger puzzle. Like the Wallander novels, these stories rank among the finest police procedurals being written today. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
The early adventures of Kurt Wallander, that most human of all fictional detectives, are revealed in a collection of short mysteries. In 1969, the time of "Wallander's First Case," the melancholy Swede is a callow 21. Eager to please, his sleuthing talent still embryonic, he stumbles into a solution. By 1975, the Wallander of "The Man with the Mask," who's clearly grown more comfortable in his professional skin, confronts and collars the crazed killer of a harmless old shopkeeper. "The Man on the Beach," set in 1987, is a variation on the locked-room mystery. By this time the hero is 40, ruefulness has set in and Wallander has begun to think of himself as "a police officer from another age." "The Death of the Photographer," set a year later, is noteworthy mostly because nonviolent Wallander comes close to killing a man. In "The Pyramid," the last, longest and best of these prequels, Wallander has full-blown weltschmerz. It's 1989 and the chief inspector frets about his health, worries about going bald, misses his divorced wife, battles his cunning father (hilariously), yearns to be closer to his daughter and tries to end a soul-draining love affair while he skillfully, relentlessly pursues a slick, remorseless drug dealer. Four OK stories capped by a perfect gem of a novella, "The Pyramid," which no fan of Wallander (The Man Who Smiled, 2006, etc.) should miss.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433289552
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/1/2009
  • Series: Kurt Wallander Series
  • Format: Cassette
  • Pages: 9
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 2.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Henning Mankell
Henning Mankell is Sweden’s single most-read author around the world. His novels, which include the bestselling Kurt Wallander mysteries, have been translated into thirty-seven languages with more than 30 million copies in print worldwide. He has received the German Tolerance Prize and the Macallan Golden Dagger and has been a three-time finalist for the Los Angeles Times Mystery/Thriller Book Prize. Born in Stockholm in 1948 and raised in a village in northern Sweden, Mankell divides his time between Sweden and Maputo, Mozambique, where he works as the director of Teatro Avenida.

Laurie Thompson is the distinguished translator of the novels of Henning Mankell, Hakan Nesser, and Ake Edwardson. He was editor of Swedish Book Review
(1983-2002).

Biography

Henning Mankell was born in Stockholm in 1948. He is the author of many works of fiction, including the nine novels in the Kurt Wallander series. He has worked as an actor, theatre director, and manager in Sweden and in Mozambique -- where he is now head of the Teatro Avenida in Maputo.

Author biography courtesy of The Random House Group.

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    1. Hometown:
      Mozambique, Africa
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 3, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Stockholm, Sweden
    1. Education:
      Folkskolan Elementary Shool, Sveg; Högre Allmäna Läroverket, Borås

Table of Contents

Foreword 1

Wallander's First Case 3

The Man with the Mask 105

The Man on the Beach 131

The Death of the Photographer 165

The Pyramid 239

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 19, 2011

    Five good stories, easy to read, put down, pick up without missing clues

    Henning Mankell's Pyramid and Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries . . . Henning Mankell is Swedish and has-who would have guessed it-created a Swedish detective in Kurt Wallander. Sweden is a very different country culturally and politically from the U.S. and its policing is different in some respects, similar in others. That gives these short stories and their central character, a police detective, extra dimensions that add interest to each of the different plots. Putting these mysteries together as they are is, to me, almost a stroke of editing genius. These mysteries were written at different times, some have run in newspapers, two have not seen the light of day until this book was published. (Mankell, in his foreword, sets the tone for the stories in the book. Please don't miss it.) Mankell wrote Wallander's First Case long after the others, in response to readers who expressed interest in knowing some back story of Kurt Wallander and how he got to be who he is. The stories, all with good plots and intriguing mysteries, are an easy read; Mankell's style, at least in these mysteries, consists mainly of short sentences, and he wastes few words on long expository or descriptive passages. Each of the stories is very different and also vary greatly in length. Pyramid is the longest, The Man with the Mask the shortest. This is a series-in-a-book, and each story neatly follows the other in an almost novelistic manner. Mankell uses this technique to show the reader how Kurt Wallander evolves from a young cop (Wallander's First Case) on his first job to a full-fledged detective (Pyramid) with 20 years experience to his credit. Each of the five stories grows Wallander, in age, in wisdom, and in his professional life as a respected but generally insecure finder of clues, solver of puzzles. As he works his way through each crime in each story, in the back of his mind there is always some elusive, worrying "thing" that he can't quite grasp and that he believes could be important. We also see the evolution, for better or worse, of Wallander's painful and awkward relationship with his father, his falling into and out of love-and marriage-with Mona, and his deep love for their daughter. He keeps himself to himself, and his generally somber outlook on life reflects the countryside and the climate. Apparently the insecurity that Wallander manifests is not unusual in the Swedish population. Here is how Mankell, who gave life and personality to Wallander, says it: "It was only after I had written the eighth and final installment in the series about Kurt Wallander that I thought of the subtitle I had always sought but never found. When everything, or at least most of it, was over I understood that the subtitle naturally had to be 'Novels about the Swedish Anxiety.'" But whether Wallander is riddled with "Swedish Anxiety" or just the anxiety that in our troubled world today afflicts all of us, unless we are living in a cave somewhere, he makes an interesting detective and these are interesting stories. The plots and the crimes are inventive and have unusual elements and odd twists and characters that kept me-and of course Kurt Wallander-wondering until the last paragraph. An interesting read. Because it's made up of short and connected mysteries featuring the same detective, it's an easy book to read awhile, put down and pick up again, without losing any plot points. Read it, and listen up! Do not neglect the foreword.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    How Wallander Became Wallander

    If you watch the various foreign mystery series on MHz from Virginia, you know Wallander, the Swedish detective from Ystad in southern Sweden. This book is really a series of short stories that tells those of us who are fans what he was like before we got to know him and makes events in the rest of the book series more understandable. I rated topical as a factor for conversation because Sweden is dealing with many of the problems we find familiar and this series deals with them in the light of Swedish law.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    Horrible writing

    Seemed as though it was written by a child. Could not even get through all of the stories they were so poorly written.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2012

    Great reading. You are almost in Sweden

    I really enjoyed the stories and especially the gloomy charachteer, Dective Wallander. Good stories with weather included. Guess it's a bit rainy and cold there, and spring and summer are pretty short

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wallander

    Awesome great story

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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