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The Fifth Woman [Audio Cassette]

Henning Mankell , Dick Hill , Steven T. Murray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition CDN $11.66  
Hardcover --  
Paperback CDN $12.27  
Mass Market Paperback --  
Audio, CD CDN $34.95  
Audio, Cassette, Oct. 1 2007 --  
Multimedia CD CDN $33.77  
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2007 Kurt Wallander Mysteries
Inspector Kurt Wallander is home from an idyllic holiday in Rome, full of energy and plans for the future. But when he investigates the disappearence of an elderly birdwatcher he discovers a gruesome and meticulously planned murder - a body impaled in a trap of sharpened bamboo poles. Then another man is reported missing. And once again Wallander's life is on hold as he and his team work tirelessly to find a link between the series of vicious murders. Forever battling to make sense of the violence of modern Sweden, Wallander leads a massive investigation to uncover a brutal killer.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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A series of men who seem to have nothing in common are brutally killed--one is impaled, another starved and then strangled. We know more than the police--we know that the killer is a woman and we gradually understand some of her motivation; her much wronged mother was murdered almost by chance in a North African country--but we don't know who she is, or, for a while at least, her motives and principles of selection of her victims. Inspector Wallender finds himself investigating the case--two missing person enquiries that turn into a murder hunt--and finds himself endlessly confused by red herrings and side issues; a set of leads concerning mercenaries in the Congo of the 1960s turn out to have little to do with the case and Wallender has to waste considerable time suppressing an attempt by the far Right to turn the murders into a reason to set up vigilante justice.The Fifth Woman is a stylish police procedural which lets us see not only the leg work of investigation but also the diligence which makes effective murder possible--the killer Wallender is trying to catch is at least as good at her job of murder as he is at his of prevention. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of this Swedish version of the station-house police procedural, set in the Sk?ne district in the south of Sweden, Det. Kurt Wallander, who has just returned from an idyllic vacation in Rome, joins the hunt for the missing Holger Eriksson, an elderly poet. Finding the man's corpse in a ditch, impaled on sharpened bamboo stakes, brings Wallander back abruptly to the realities of crime in modern Sweden. While Wallander and his colleagues investigate the murder, another man is found dead in the local woods, making it clear that they have a brutal serial killer on their hands. The killer plans each murder carefully to ensure that the victim suffers for several days before dying. Who could hate these innocent-seeming men so much as to want to torture them to death? The police detectives must delve deeply into the victims' lives to find out what links them together and what might have made them a deadly enemy. Mankell takes the reader slowly and meticulously through the long investigation's progress, including frequent reversals. The policemen are constantly overworked and exhausted, but they make acute deductions and chase down every lead relentlessly. Mankell is a talented writer, and the translation by Steven Murray is graceful and colloquial, but the narrative is so bleak and brooding that it certainly qualifies as the darkest of Swedish noir. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Agonising Detective Jan. 13 2002
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy Successor to Sjowall and Wahloo. Sept. 17 2001
I picked up "The Fifth Woman" by Henning Mankell because a reviewer favorably compared it to the classic "The Laughing Policeman" by Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo (Swedish wife/husband writing team). It doesn't disappoint. This is a book that is worth the price of a hardcover -- meaty, substantive, intricately/well plotted, with great characters.
The three things I noticed that bind all three authors in their works are: 1) the Swedish people's dislike and distrust of the police, 2) the chill and loneliness that seems to pervade human relationships, and 3) police inspectors who are brilliant, meticulous, conscientious, introspective and given to depression. These Swedish police procedurals are not a barrel of laughs, but rather they are thoughtful, well written, and original.
"The Fifth Woman" starts out with the murders in Africa of 4 nuns and a female visitor. The rest of the novel takes place with these murders' ramifications in Sweden where a serial killer is dispatching men, each very differently. The title refers not only to the 5th woman murdered in Africa, but also the 5th woman in Sweden who leads police inspector, Kurt Wallander, to the Swedish serial murderer.
American police procedurals tend to reveal more murder motives from the get-go. In this novel the motive is a core plot element and isn't revealed until later in the book. The reader also knows a few things about the killer early in the book that the police don't know and it is fascinating to watch the police reach the "same place in the book" as the reader. I was reading a well regarded American mystery writer and stopped the book to read "The Fifth Woman". When I returned to the American book after finishing Mankell's opus, it was sophmoric in comparison. This is a book for the serious mystery reader and well worth the effort.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a great suspense novel Feb. 28 2001
With Kurt Wallander swedish author Henning Mankell has created one of these sympathetic if low-key protagonists that become very dear to the readers' heart as the single story and ultimately the different mysteries continue. He reminds me in many ways of his Israeli counterpart Miachael Ohayon, created by the great mystery writer Batya Gur. But of course Sweden is very different from Israel and the small town of Ystad is no Jerusalem. When two gruesome murders happen in the small community, Kurt Wallander is immediately torn out of reminiscences from his recent Italy vacation with his father and has to immerse himself in a strange and very dark reality. At the same time the reader follows the steps of the killer and sees a complex personality and story build as a race against time heats up for the Ystad police. The novel is well-written, atmospherically dense, intense and keeps a good pace all the way to the well-developed conclusion. Mankell has no loose ends remaining at the end of this story, yet the reader is sad to say farewell to Kurt once more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping thriller with melancholy atmosphere Sept. 5 2000
Swedish writer Mankell's graceful, unadorned prose provides an affecting voice for his melancholy protagonist, Ystad police detective Kurt Wallander, whose own mid-life difficulties give way to the pursuit of a cunning serial killer.
As the book opens, a woman receives information that her mother has been murdered along with four nuns in an African convent, the crime hushed up. Then an old man who writes bird poetry is impaled on sharpened bamboo stakes embedded in a ditch on his property while the woman watches from his bird tower.
Wallander, just home from a pleasant trip to Italy with his father, a rejuvenation of their taciturn relationship, investigates a break-in at a flower shop from which nothing was taken, receives reports of a growing vigilante militia movement and eventually discovers the body of the bird poet. Meanwhile the reader learns that the flower shop proprietor is a captive, slowly starving. He is missing more than a week - supposedly on an orchid-buying trip - before anyone realizes.
The grisly narrative builds slowly, in plain, unhurried cadences. The fits, starts and frustrations of police procedure mingle with Wallander's concerns for his father and plans for a future with his lover, Baiba - all against a thrum of background tension - the bound, terrified man, the woman ticking off plans on a meticulous schedule, selecting her next victim.
As the murder count rises, Wallander and his team delve into the background of the victims, uncovering dark secrets, making tenuous connections, inching toward a solution that horrifies them all. Mankell's ("Fearless Killers," "Sidetracked") plot organization and pacing is masterful and his perplexing, atmospheric story is all the more gripping delivered in measured, understated prose.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love that Kurt Wallander!
He just keeps getting better and better... anyone who likes mysteries with well-developed characters and places, this is for you.
Published 7 months ago by Germaine in Canada
4.0 out of 5 stars Interior thoughts while solving a very physical crime
I found this book in a pile of books I got from someone, it took me about two-three weeks to read through it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by ladysown
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating reading
I started reading this mystery novel just after having finshed reading Stieg Larsson's riveting mystery trilogy about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Read more
Published on April 30 2011 by Hans Van Hell
5.0 out of 5 stars One Very Intensive and Chilling Thriller
Inspector Kurt Wallander is at it again. The reader should not be disappointed with this particular Mankell's psychological thriller that once again goes inside the Swedish... Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2011 by Ian Gordon Malcomson
5.0 out of 5 stars One step behind
Henning Mankell really nails you to your reading chair from page one with his subtle and quiet horror stories where there is a minimum of the graphical violence you so often see in... Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2001
2.0 out of 5 stars Plodding procedural-- the Detective is pooped and so am I
Detective Kurt Wallander is professionally cautious and thoughtful (dull), personally abrupt, a bit on the insensitive side. Read more
Published on May 1 2001 by bumuling
3.0 out of 5 stars Plodding Police Investigation
Disappointing read. Detective Wallander is the epitome of doom and gloom throughout, a rather pathetic main character, who doesn't seem able to get his life together. Read more
Published on April 28 2001 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ghost of Martin Beck Rises
Fans of the Maj Sjowall/ Per Wahloo Martin Beck series will be right at home here in Henning Mankell's modern-day Sweden. Read more
Published on Dec 13 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars A very different type but just as enjoyable police novel
Ystad, Sweden is not a place where one would expect a homicide wave. Yet three brutal murders have shook up the citizens and stunned the police. Read more
Published on July 1 2000 by Harriet Klausner
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