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by Henning Mankell
New Press, September 2008
392 pages
ISBN: 1565849949

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

THE PYRAMID: AND FOUR OTHER KURT WALLANDER MYSTERIES provides a glimpse at events in Kurt Wallander's life leading up to his introduction in FACELESS KILLERS. These stories span his career from a young police officer to the jaded yet skilled detective he ultimately becomes. They explore his marriage, his relationship with his daughter, with his father and his own career path in the police department.

In THE PYRAMID, Kurt Wallander has several different types of crimes to investigate. In his first case, he must investigate the murder of his neighbor, who appears at first sight to be a rather pathetic old man without any secrets. In another case, he must find the murderer of a poisoned man who dies on the way to the hospital. And yet another case, leads him from a fire to money smuggling to several unexpected crimes committed by two unlikely suspects.

For me, the most memorable mystery is The Pyramid which occurs in 1989. This story is not memorable for the police investigation Wallander is engaged in but for the personal background this short story provides. This story presents a better understanding of the estrangement between Wallander and his father. His father goes to Egypt for a grand adventure and Wallander is forced to take out a loan to go and rescue his dad. His father does not thank Wallander nor does he acknowledge the sacrifices Wallander made to travel to Egypt. Their inability to understand each other's point of view and life creates numerous tensions in other books.

Like the full-length mysteries in the series, THE PYRAMID uses Wallander's own personal problems to reflect the larger problems and changes to Swedish society. Wallander thinks about the world around him and ponders how society has changed in regard to drugs, immigrants and other social issues. What is most surprising, as Wallander is very informed about society, is that his own problems are always due to love and money. While being a talented detective, he is unable to see the patterns in his own life and is unable to learn from the errors he makes regarding women. Luckily for the victims of criminal crimes, Wallander is able to see the patterns and changes of society and of criminals better than the patterns of his own life.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, January 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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