Monday, October 5, 2015

Henning Mankell, RIP

I do like crime novels. I've read quite a few. Henning Mankell wrote some very good ones. His Inspector Wallander will surely go down as one of the greats... taciturn, brilliant, deeply ethical, in the mold of Adam Dalgliesh; not Dalgliesh of course, but then, in genre fiction, Dalgliesh and Smiley stand alone, no?

And yet, novel after novel, I began to lose interest. Mankell's chilly, cynical take on modern Scandinavian culture began to strike me as more posturing than realism. Of course, it's possible that life in Sweden or Norway is as corrupt and depraved as Mankell's and Nesbø's novels imply. If so, give me Elmore Leonard's cheerfully nasty drug dealers and prostitutes, or Denise Mina's tough-luck Scottish punks.

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