Long before Lisbeth Salander got her first dragon tattoo, Kurt Wallander was the premiere crime solver in Sweden. Author Henning Mankell introduced the character in 1991, closing out the series eight books and nine years later. Now, Mankell has revived the most conflicted detective in Swedish literature for “The Troubled Man“). Wallander is now in his 60s, forgetful and frustrated; suspended from the police department, he agrees to investigate a former submarine commander who has gone missing after discovering information pertaining to a political scandal.
Why did you decided to write another Wallander novel after so many years?
Five years ago, I realized that there might be one more story — not a story about solving a case, but a story where he was his own case. I wanted to write about him facing the fate of being older, and that was the beginning of the feeling that there might be one more story.
What made you want to write about Wallander at this age?
When you reach your 60s, most people start looking backwards. Because when you’re 60, most of the important decisions in life are already made. For Wallander, it can be scary in that he realizes that he has been a very apolitical person in his life, and I wanted to talk about that.
What is it like to bid farewell to a character you’ve lived with for so long?
During all these years, I never thought about writing about him. It was always a question of having what I thought was a good story to tell and whether he could be a successful instrument for telling that story. It always started with the story. It never started with him.
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Written by Express contributor Stephen M. Deusner
Photo by Michael Lionstar