cover image An Event in Autumn: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

An Event in Autumn: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

Henning Mankell, trans. from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson. Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, $14.95 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-0-8041-7064-2

Set in 2002, this compelling short novel chronicles an episode in the life of Kurt Wallander shortly before the Swedish detective ended his career in 2011's The Troubled Man. Wallander, who shares his Ystad flat with daughter Linda, decides to look take a look at a house in the country owned by a colleague's relative. He discovers an abandoned farmhouse and, shockingly, "the remains of a human hand, sticking up out of the brown clay soil." The crime scene professionals who take over eventually discover two bodies, their identities completely unknown but foul play suspected. The search for what happened to the victims baffles and consumes Wallander, who observes, "The past has closed all doors behind it." The search for their names and fates propels the book, which has much to say about aging, history, and justice. Mankell's insightful afterword about the genesis of his hero and his initial decision to write crime fiction (to combat racism in Sweden) is a plus. (Aug.)