Saturday 20 December 2008

Who is Kurt Wallander?

To accompany the high profile new series of 'Wallander', the BBC has produced an interesting documentary about the character, and his creator, Henning Mankell. The programme featured John Harvey visiting Sweden and interviewing Mankell and some of his admirers, along with a few comments from crime novelists Jeffrey Deaver and Ann Cleeves.

Although I’ve been interested in Mankell’s books for a number of years, I haven’t read many, and I learned a good deal more about him and his approach to writing from this programme. The context of the books, the changes (not all for the better) within Swedish society over the years, was also portrayed concisely yet informatively.

Mankell’s debt to Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, creators of that earlier melancholy Swedish cop Martin Beck, was acknowledged (as was the fact that Sjowall and Wahloo in turn owed much to the lead given by Ed McBain, the American mastera of police procedure.) He came over as an interesting and humane man, who has devoted a fair slice of the fortune he has earned to literacy and health projects in Africa that are plainly very close to his heart.

I’ve never visited Sweden, but the programme made me want to go there (at the height of summer, mind you) and also to read more Mankell.


Anonymous said...

I agree about wanting to go there - I'm planning my visit for 2010 - hope the Euro has improved a little against the pound by then. I also hope to travel along the Göta Canal a la Roseanna (Sjowall & Wahloo).

Will there be another Daniel Kind novel any time soon to follow on from 'The Arsenic Labyrinth'? I thoroughly enjoyed those I read for my article on Lake District mysteries!

Martin Edwards said...

Greetings, WhereDunnit. You might be amused to know that I stopped off at a service station on the M6 en route for the Lakes and bought the magazine that - unknown to me -contained your article. Very gratifying, and a jolly good article.
I'm currently working on a new Lakes book, but there is a long way to go yet....

Anonymous said...

Just a comment to WhereDunnit: Remember that Sweden hasn't converted to the Euro yet - we still use our old Krona.

But you're very welcome to visit us. The summer is probably the best time, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it any time of year.

Roger Cornwell said...

There's an interesting article over on the CAse for Global Film blog.

Can somebody confirm my recollection that the film version of Before the Frost strayed from the storyline of the book version? (I borrowed the book from the library. No spoilers please, but I thought the ending scenario in particular was different.)