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This was an enjoyable read. First the murder, an elderly farmer is bludgeoned to death and his wife left to die with a noose around her neck. The last word she utters before dying is “foreign”. Since Sweden is currently having problems with anti-immigrant sentiments, this could be a problem for the police. Also the crime appears to be motiveless, why would anyone want to kill a farmer and his wife?
I liked everything about this book, the way the author describes the victim’s neighbors realizing something is wrong and finding the crime. The way events are related very matter of fact appealed to me. Apparently Swedes are not squeamish about bodily functions, as I have noticed in other books.
In Ystad police Inspector Kurt Wallander we have a dedicated investigator who is always thinking about the victim, he wants to solve this crime. He is also drinks too much, eats the wrong food (too fast most of the time) and gets angry and irritated at almost everyone. He also appreciates the wisdom and experience of others. He has an ex-wife he is trying to get back with, a daughter he is trying to reconnect with and a father with health problems who resents Wallender not being there and also trying to run his life at the same time. He also starts to develop romantic feelings for the new beautiful prosecutor who happens to be married. We end up with a complex but very human character. All the characters in this story are well done.
Wallander has to deal with all these problems and more while trying to solve this seemingly senseless crime. How he does so is fascinating and made this book work for me. I recommend it.