An Event in Autumn, by Henning Mankell (Harvill Secker, RRP $27):
Here’s a treat for fans: new novella featuring the now world-famous (but, sadly, now retired literary character) of Scandinavian detective Kurt Wallander.
After three decades of solving crime, Wallander is ready for a change, and an old farmhouse in the Swedish countryside looks like the perfect place to make that change.
Wallander’s life hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing up until now, and things certainly don’t get any easier when he uncovers the skeleton of a woman in the garden while looking over the property.
From there, the hunt is on to identify the woman and find out what happened to her. As police officers comb the property, Wallander enlists the aid of his daughter, Linda to help him in his own investigation. However, a second discovery in the garden forces Wallander to delve further back into the area’s past.
This book was written a few years ago but chronologically, the storyline fits as the second last book in the series, showing the detective preparing for his retirement. It’s not full-on action or drama, but it is a satisfying read that fits perfectly into the Wallander series timeline.
The book’s enlightening afterword from the author explains “there are no more stories about Kurt Wallander” and goes on to offer readers an insight into what inspires him in his writing.
As with any serial, fans would probably be happy for it to go on forever, but it is refreshing to see an author brave enough to end a series on a high instead of lingering on well past its use-by date.
Finally, being a novella, it’s quite short, but the story isn’t lacking in depth. Mankell tends to be quite tight in his writing style, delivery concise descriptions and dialogue, which is well suited to a stories of any length.