The Return of the Dancing Master | By Henning Mankell

Mankell deviates from his Wallander mysteries here with a new detective in a new town. This book actually begins right after the second World War in Germany with a man on a semi secret mission – not even the pilot flying the mysterious man knows who he is or what he is going to Europe to do. Fast forward 50 years and move over to Sweden and we meet a terrified man who lives in constant fear. He is a retired police officer and his fears, we find, are certainly justified as he is murdered in a slow and torturous way. News of his death reach his former colleagues, one of which, Stefan Lindman, after being diagnosed with cancer and on medical leave, decide to go and see what happened to the retired officer. At first Lindman seems to be just running away from reality with the excuse of looking into the death but as he sees the scene of the crime and asks more questions about the deceased the more strange the case becomes. Lindman realizes he really didn’t know his colleague at all. What was his relationship with his family, is there a Nazi connection and why did he seem to be hiding out there in the middle of the woods? All is revealed in the end and one wonders how many lives were touched with people such as these during the long years of the world wars. Slightly different from his usual characters but Mankell still develops the individuals really well and you are sucked in from the start. Not a happy book but a good one nonetheless.

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