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Vendetta

  • Jan 24, 2011
Rating:
+1
The Man from Beijing is a Mankell novel in which Kurt Wallender never makes an appearance. The protagonist here is rather an unlikely one, being a 50-something Swedish woman who happens to be a highly regarded judge. A shocking mass murder has occurred in a remote northern village populated by elderly people, most of whom are related. When Birgitta discovers that the foster parents of her mother are among the dead, she travels to the scene of the crime to find out what the police know. Within days, they've arrested a suspect, but Birgitta's experience tells her they've got the wrong man. From here on out, the book jumps between time periods and places. From 19th century China and America, to 20th century China, and to present day China, Africa, and England, Birgitta tracks the history behind the horrendous crime. The 19th century segments, depicting the dismal lives of Chinese peasants as they work to build America's railroads, are interesting, but thereafter the writing sinks into a dry essay into the workings of modern Chinese financial and political problems. True, some of the details have direct bearing on the mystery plot, but it takes way too long to distinguish what they are. The action picks up again when Birgitta returns to Sweden, and realizes that she's the target of whoever perpetrated the mass murder. If this book had been ruthlessly edited, perhaps it could have matched the tension inherent in the Wallender series. Regrettably, it wasn't, and readers should be prepared to slog through the politics before the mystery is solved.
Vendetta

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January 25, 2011
I sometimes enjoy those sidebars so it's possible I'd enjoy this one more than you did. Nice review, Linda.
 
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More The Man from Beijing reviews
review by . August 02, 2010
Henning Mankell surpassed himself with this superb novel
Mankell literally surpassed himself with this remarkably presented tale of a gruesome murder that affects the lives of many people in many lands. After reading his first Kurt Wallander mystery, Faceless Killers, and the five short stories called The Pyramid, I thought of Henning Mankell as a good writer, but not a terrific one. This novel, which is not about his detective Wallander, the subject of ten of his mysteries, does not have the slow almost plodding pace I felt in the two other books of …
review by . August 02, 2010
Mankell literally surpassed himself with this remarkably presented tale of a gruesome murder that affects the lives of many people in many lands. After reading his first Kurt Wallander mystery, Faceless Killers, and the five short stories called The Pyramid, I thought of Henning Mankell as a good writer, but not a terrific one. This novel, which is not about his detective Wallander, the subject of ten of his mysteries, does not have the slow almost plodding pace I felt in the two other books of …
review by . March 23, 2010
I have been enjoying the Wallander books, so I was looking forward to this new book by Mr. Mankell. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations.    It begins quite well, with an entire village of elderly people slaughtered for no apparent reason. After that, it begins to go steadily downhill. The protagonist is not a detective, but a female judge who puts herself right into the midle of the police investigation. Despite being told to stop getting involved, she continues …
About the reviewer
Linda ()
Ranked #55
After 21 years as a school psychologist, I now work part-time at two local historical museums, giving tours and teaching special programs. This leaves me more time to enjoy my little grandchildren, and … more
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A massacre in the remote Swedish village of Hesjövallen propels this complex, if diffuse, stand-alone thriller from Mankell (The Pyramid). Judge Birgitta Roslin, whose mother grew up in the village, comes across diaries from the house of one of the 19 mostly elderly victims kept by Jan Andrén, an immigrant ancestor of Roslin's. The diaries cover Andrén's time as a foreman on the building of the transcontinental railroad in the United States. An extended flashback charts the journey of a railroad worker, San, who was kidnapped in China and shipped to America in 1863. After finding evidence linking a mysterious Chinese man to the Hesjövallen murders, Roslin travels to Beijing, suspecting that the motive for the horrific crime is rooted in the past. While each section, ranging in setting from the bleak frozen landscape of northern Sweden to modern-day China bursting onto the global playing field, compels, the parts don't add up to a fully satisfying whole.Author tour. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Contents:

pt. 1. The silence. The epitaph --
The judge --
pt. 2. The railroad. The way to Canton --
The feather and the stone --
pt. 3. The red ribbon. The rebels --
The Chinese game --
pt. 4. The colonizers. Bark peeled off by elephants --
Chinatown, London.

Other title: Kinesen.  Translated from the Swedish by Laurie ...
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Details

ISBN-10: 0307271862
ISBN-13: 978-0307271860
Author: Henning Mankell
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Knopf
First to Review
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