The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell ***

Reading dates: 17 – 26 January 2014

I like Mankell’s vision for Wallander, as I think he has found an angle on the tired cliché of the police officer detective. With Wallander, we get more: a believable character, questions of ethics and a focus away from the whodunnit and into what it means to detect. Yet, I think there is too much whodunnit in the second part of this book. Two well dressed chaps in a life raft turn up on the Swedish coast. As they seem to be Latvian, a charming but eerie police officer from Riga comes to Ystad to help Wallander. After his return to the Baltic country, something (which I won’t write about as it is a spoiler) makes Wallander go to Riga to continue his case. Although Latvia is portrayed in a rather seductive, dark way, the plot falls into a tokenistic love interest, a doubles game and a chase. Too predictable, even with Wallander’s lovely manner and thoughtful approach to crime. The first part, though, is just what I needed as I was lying in bed ill: an interesting page turner with mysterious qualities. Shame it all fell apart at around page 125.