An investigation of inspector Wallander. A real thriller for a very modern suspense. A very cinematic writing with the thought of the policeman at work.
In October 4th, 1997, Ystad in Scanie (Sweden). In its prologue, Henning Mankell describes a man, Tynnes Falk, come question its bank account to a distributor. Approximatively at midnight, near a supermarket, enough far from the city center. Apparently, the place is deserted. Suddenly, Tynnes Falk collapses, dead, as if he had been struck by surprise.
The following morning, inspector Kurt Wallander learns the murder of Lundberg, a taxi driver, massacred in blows of hammer and knife in his car. The time table of Lundberg reveals that he took car of two girls at the exit of a restaurant. Wallander knows the owner. We find and we arrest the girls : Sonja Hökberg (21 years old) and Eva Persson (16 years old). Questioned, they recognized the facts without posting the slightest conciousness of their gravity. Wallander questions Sonja who shows himself stubborn. Sonja seems like a too fast increased girl and her answers are often aggressive and provocative. The motive which she presents (as her friend Eva) : they needed money to buy things.
A painfull scene occurs in a corridor of the commissionership. Eva Persson is with her mother and Wallander gets ready to join a press conference to review the current investigation. Eva is very agressive towards her mother, in the point to get ready to slap her. Impulsively, Wallanders intervenes. It’s so abrupt as he pushes aside Eva who meets on the ground. A journalist come for the press conference photographs the scene incognito. The photo will hit the headlines of the local press, in the big shame of Wallander, taken in obvious offence of police violence. The worst, it’s because Eva and her mother already for a version questioning him directly. No other witness. It’s its word against theirs.
Wallander manages at the point to intend to resign from the police. What this world where the children beat their relatives and where his colleagues don’t believe in his honesty ? Because his superior, Lisa Holgersson intend to suspend him of his functions. Afterward, Wallander willl earn that one of his colleagues emits doubts on his methods of work. The team with which Wallander works consists of Martinsson, Hanson, Ann-Britt Höglund, Nyberg and some the others. Wallander often works by wondering what would have made Rydberg ( dead colleague) in such or such circumstance.
Wallander observes quite very attentively. When he enters a room where the investigation leads him, he always try to be made a photographic impression of all which is there. He has to smell if everything is normal or not. On the other hand, his love and family life often occupies its spirit. He doesn’t forget the russian Baiba. He gave up their love, but he often thinks of her. To the point that his daughter Linda says to him that he should run and ad to intend to meet another woman. The idea will make gradually its road in the head.
The death of Tynnes Falk is declared natural (sudden heart attack) and both girls admitted. The first one of an incredible series of new developements arises then. Sonja Hökberg in wait to the commisionership takes advantage of a moment of inattention to escape. Certainly inadmissible error. But it will be necessary to make with.
We question Eva Persson (but not Wallander, because he is in dispute with the family since this history of photo). She seems to know nothing. Her friend would be responsible for everything. Sonja would have given the back hammer blows, then the stabs. To the restaurant, Wallander learns that the girls inverted their places during the evening. So, Sonja was in front of a man of Asian type eating at another table.
To him, of night, Wallander undergoes a power cut. He quickly notices that it’s a generalized breakdown. The problem comes from a transformer situated in the open countryside. We find there a carbonized and unrecognizable corpse. A woman according to a specialist. She would have been thrown against the equipment and subjected to a discharge as she had been placed on an electric chair. Wallander and the others think at once that it’s Sonja Hökberg. But, if it’s really Sonja, how was she able to arrive there ? Brought by whom ? Why ?
Henning Mankell leads its intrigue in a masterly fashion. He knows him well maintaining his police captain Wallander (he gave him the same age as him) good meticulous policeman in his work, but with its very human weaknesses. The investigation will lead him in a world which he discovers hardly, that of the cybernetic space. Some men were affinities as for their perception of the world. In particular on the way the world economy is managed. They finalized a system which should activate real disasters. Are they only of dangerous irresponsable either are they really in the center of the world, propped up in their armchair in front on their computer screen ? Mankell shows himself very convincing. He makes a sensible reference to Jules Verne (Captain Nemo on The Mysterious Island). The world order ans its financial system seem very fragile balance in front of warlike intentions of some there.
Original title : Brandvägg (Sweden – 1998)