Kurt Wallander is both the main character and setting of Mankell's 'procedural' crime series. While based in southern Sweden, "The Fifth Woman" is in fact grounded in the rugged landscape of Wallander's interior life - his memories, hopes, shopping lists, prejudices and anxieties. Not since Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder have I read such an angst-ridden and ethically driven protagonist. This is the ultimate introverted hero - he solves crimes using weapons of solitude, intuition, memory-interrogation and a phenonomenal eye for detail. How could you not love a policeman who reminds himself in the midst of the chase to book the laundry room, alert his superiors to a colleague's excessive workload or take time to grieve for his father. Mankell also provides a vivid account of the broader issues that confronted Swedish society in the 1990s - refugees, law and order, social capital and shifting moral foundations. Wallander characterises the times as an age where people have forgotten how to darn their socks, preferring to discard a blemish rather than repair a resource. And the storyline of "The Fifth Woman"? Like Laurie King's "Night Work", "The Fifth Woman" explores issues of violence, revenge and enforcing justice when the system cannot deliver. It is, like Mankell's other Wallander titles, a monumental chronicle of detail, connection and the unfolding of a tightly-bound investigation. The Swedish atmospherics will also help take one's mind off an endless summer.