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Before the Frost
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About the Author

Henning Mankell was born in Stockholm in 1948. He is the prize-winning author of the eight novels in the Inspector Wallander Series which has been translated into many languages and consistently tops the best-seller lists throughout Europe. His novel Sidetracked won the CWA Gold dagger in 2001. Mankell has worked as an actor, theatre director and manager in Sweden and in Mozambique, where he is head of Teatro Avenida in Maputo.

Reviews

How does a mystery author refresh a best-selling series that has gone stale? Swedish crime writer Mankell (The Dogs of Riga) tackles the problem by introducing a new detective who happens to be the daughter of popular series character Kurt Wallander. Newly minted police recruit Linda is eager to take up her job at the Ystaad police station where her father is chief inspector. But she can't start until September, and for the summer she is stuck living at home with her melancholic dad. Linda's investigative instincts, however, are stimulated by the sudden disappearance of childhood friend Anna, who had just reported seeing her long-lost father. At the same time, the brutal incineration of a flock of swans and the decapitation murder of a hiker attract Kurt's attention. A minor character in the other Wallander books, Linda comes into her own here; she's smart and tough but also vulnerable, and her tense relationship with her father is beautifully detailed. Too bad the rambling plot, revolving around a religious cult's apocalyptic conspiracy, is so contrived, tedious, and unbelievable. For example, Linda constantly breaks into her missing friend's apartment and borrows her car; don't the neighbors notice anything? Still, Mankell fans will lap this up like a chilled glass of aquavit.-Wilda Williams, Library Journal Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

In Mankell's stellar 10th Wallander mystery, the generational torch passes from father Kurt to his equally stubborn daughter, Linda, who recently finished her police training and is anxiously awaiting her first day on the job. But a seemingly random series of events jump-starts her career and enmeshes her and her father, along with Stefan Lindman, the detective featured in The Return of the Dancing Master (2004), in a case with global ramifications. The book begins on a bizarrely disquieting note: someone is setting animals-wild swans, a farmer's calf-on fire. Then Linda begins investigating, unofficially, the disappearance of her friend Anna Westin. And the stakes for everyone are raised when Linda finds the ritualistically mutilated corpse of Birgitta Medberg, a local cultural historian. A complex (but wholly credible) narrative connects these events with a terrorist plot led by a survivor of the 1978 mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. As always with Mankell, the mystery is connected to larger issues-the decline of Swedish civility, of course, but also the danger of religious fundamentalism (the events are set in the weeks before 9/11)-but polemics never trumps suspense in this extraordinarily compelling drama. (Feb. 8) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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