Monday 10 August 2009

Wallander - The Village Idiot

I'm just back from my holidays, about which more soon. One of the many good things about getting away was the chance to catch up with a bit of reading - in fact, I was reminded of how hard it has become to carve out enough time to read novels. But I've devoured four good ones, while soaking up the sun, and will have a bit to say about each of them.

Meanwhile, I raved recently about the excellence of the Swedish TV interpretation of Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander series. ‘Mastermind’ was superb. Just before going away, I watched ‘The Village Idiot’, again with Krister Henriksson in the lead role, world-weary as ever, and my good impression has been confirmed, even though I didn’t think this story was in the same street as ‘Mastermind’.

On reflection, I think the brilliantly enigmatic feel of the early scenes of ‘Mastermind’ reminded me, subtly, of the appeal of early episodes of ‘Taggart’, more than twenty years ago. In the days when Mark McManus starred as Jim Taggart, and Glenn Chandler wrote most of the scripts, the Glaswegian cop series was unmissable, as far as I was concerned. Now, sadly, it is pretty routine, and the current run of stories rarely sets my pulse racing.

Perhaps the mistake with ‘Taggart’ has been to go on for too long. I hope that the same fate does not befall ‘Wallander’. In ‘The Village Idiot’, a troubled man strapped to a home-made bomb holds bank workers, and a woman customer, hostage, but the resolution of the siege is not the end of the story by a long chalk.

Interestingly, the script writer broke one of the ‘commandments’ for detective stories laid down in the 1920s by Father Ronald Knox. I won’t say which one, for fear of spoiling the story, but I think the script just about got away with it.. .


Bernadette said...

I agree Martin that was an excellent episode of an excellent series. But now you've got me wondering what rule was broken...I can't realise this is probably going to keep me up tonight? :(

Uriah Robinson said...

Martin you will have people waiting for the chinaman to appear. ;o)
I don't know if we will be getting the next series on BBC4 but I would find it very difficult to watch this without Johanna Sallstrom.

Martin Edwards said...

The broken rule - ah, I've tantalised you there! If anyone who wants to email me, I'll share my thoughts on this point!!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'm eagerly awaiting more "Wallander" on US TV.

Broken rule, hmm? Introducing a new character toward the end who ends up being the killer? Now I'm wondering...

Mystery Writing is Murder

Anonymous said...

Yes, I liked it too. It's one of the few I've seen so far.

Dorte H said...

I agree that Taggart has been allowed to run for too long. Not that the series is bad, but it is very far from the quality of the first ones.

We may not have seen all the new Wallander episodes in Denmark, but the ones we have seen have been of fairly good quality, I think.

Martin Edwards said...

Not that rule, Elizabeth!
I've just watched 'The Overdose', though it didn't appeal to me as much as this story.