Saturday 19 December 2009


BBC 4 has resumed its series of the Swedish version of Wallander, starring gruff but appealing Krister Henriksson as the detective, and Johanna Sallstrom as his daughter. I’m not sure why the series, shown to considerable acclaim (not least among crime bloggers!) earlier this year, was interrupted – but then, the scheduling of television programmes is an arcane process, as difficult to fathom as the Duckworth-Lewis method of calculating victory targets in a rain-affected cricket match.

The latest episode, Bloodline, opens with a man and a woman quarrelling on board a boat. The man storms off, but some time later, a masked individual comes on board, and brutally murders the woman. It’s a dramatic beginning, very much in the style we associate with Wallander.

When the police investigate, their inquiries soon take them to a group of people at a farm commune. Needless to say, there are various secrets to be uncovered, and the mystery is satisfyingly done. As always, however, the interplay of the characters is the great strength of the show. The relationship between Wallander and his daughter is very well done indeed. In fact, I’m not sure if I can think of any detective-and-daughter relationship in the genre that is more compelling.


Minnie said...

Agree with your comments, and share your enthusiasm for this excellent series, Martin. We were treated to the series on Arte (Franco-German cultural channel), albeit a bit late at night. Hoping for more of same (showing at peak viewing hours would be preferable!).

FionaB said...

Interesting comment Martin - I'm far from knowledgeable, but the only detective-and-his-daughter I can think of is Edward Marston's Inspector Colbeck. I'm sure other people will be able to come up with more names.....

Oh, how about Inspector Barnaby and Cully?!

Anonymous said...

Martin - Thanks for this description of the series. It's very interesting that you mention detective/daughter relationships. Fiona is right that Barnaby and Cully are good examples. So is, I think, Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford and his daughter, Sylvia.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I wish we could see this over here. Sounds a bit different from the Branagh version we've seen on our public broadcasting.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Ali Karim said...

Hi Martin - The Yellow Bird produced Swedish Wallander on BBC4 are far superior to the BBC / Ken Brangh series - But the sad fact is that the actress who plays Linda Wallander committed suicide, which paralysed Henning Hankell and stopped him writing for 2 years.

I was delighted to meet up with Christopher MacLehose again last week. Maclehose and I had both been enjoying the BBC4 serialisation of the original Swedish version of Wallander, as opposed to the British version with Kenneth Branagh. I told MacLehose who first published Henning Mankell and Arnaldur IndriĆ°ason [and has championed much translated fiction over the years], just how delightful the original Swedish Wallander series is. Christopher agreed, but was bemused when I told him that I heard that Mankell preferred the BBC version with Kenneth Branagh. Last week at the Peter James lunch at the IVY, I sat with The Times Crime Fiction reviewer, Lawyer and journalist - Marcel Berlins who had had just returned from Sweden where he interviewed Henning Mankell. During the interview, Mankell explained that he liked the BBC Wallander because it tended to focus on one plot strand and how it affected Detective Kurt Wallander, as opposed to the Swedish series which wove several plot strands around Kurt Wallander, but this resulted in diffusing the focus onto many of the secondary characters.

Mankell is over in London late Jan 2010 doing a lecture

Have a good Christmas



R/T said...

FYI from R.T.

seana graham said...

That's very sad about the Linda Wallander actress. I can well understand how that could be paralyzing.

It does remind me of another father /daughter detective relationship, though, namely that of Erlander and his daughter in Indridason's crime novels. There is a suicidal element here as well, but luckily, it is contained within the fiction.

Martin Edwards said...

Many thanks for these comments, with some truly fascinating info. I enjoyed R.T.'s list, and I'm glad to be reminded of Erlander. I read Jar City when it first came out, but I haven' read the others yet.

Lauren said...

I didn't know this had shown on Arte, but I have it on DVD (with subtitles, thankfully), so I haven't really looked. (I'm still spluttering about the dubbed Maltese Falcon I saw earlier this week.)

I saw detective-and-daugther in the tv guide this week (Germany) but didn't manage to watch it.

Not quite investigating together, but if my memory's correct the narrator in Christie's "The Clocks" is the son of one of Poirot's previous police allies. (I always assumed Superintendent Battle, but I don't think he's named.)

Oh, and I can explain both the Duckworth-Lewis system AND the offside rule in football (and I'm female!) but BBC scheduling is beyond me.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Lauren - my guess was that Colin Lamb was the son of Japp, but who knows?!