An Event in Autumn by Henning Mankell

Back in the pre-blog days, when I charged through my Scandi-crime phase, I read every Wallander title that Mankell produced. I’d first stumbled across “The Dogs of Riga” in a charity shop, and liked it very much; OH went on to not only provide me with the rest of the Wallanders as Christmas gifts, but also the Martin Beck books (the precursors of all Scandi-crime, and also the best). Over the years since, any new Wallanders appeared at various Christmas or birthdays, until the last one, “The Troubled Man”, which I reviewed here. So I thought I’d read them all – until a casual browse in the Samaritans Book Cave revealed “An Event in Autumn”, and I found myself puzzled – because I didn’t remember reading it…..

event autumn

And indeed I hadn’t! Somehow, this little novella had slipped past me; originally written in 2002, it only saw the light of day in English in 2014 (after “The Troubled Man”) and I guess I didn’t notice. However, it fits into the storyline before that book, and finds Kurt sharing his flat with daughter Linda, with both of them working for the police. But Kurt is looking to move out of the city and a colleague suggests a house that one of his relatives is selling. Our hero visits, and takes a liking to the place; but this being Wallander, the rake handle he thought he stumbled over in the garden niggles away in his mind as being not quite right, and when he goes back to take another look, it turns out to be the bones of a human arm…

Needless to say, this has to be investigated! I’m not going to say any more about the plot, except to say that it’s one of the kind I love best, which involved delving back into the past to try and solve a mystery. Wallander is his usual moody self, and watching his relationship with his daughter and how they carefully circle each other, is fascinating. It’s also clear to see where Mankell was taking Wallander’s story, with the benefit of hindsight!

Reading “An Event in Autumn”, however slim it is, was a great joy; the sense of place was strong and the mystery satisfying, although I did think it was worthy of longer treatment and a slightly less abrupt denouement. Nevertheless it’s a worthy addition to the Wallander canon and definitely recommended! 🙂

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