The Man Who Smiled (Kurt Wallander Series #4)

The Man Who Smiled (Kurt Wallander Series #4)

by Henning Mankell, Laurie Thompson

NOOK Book(eBook)

$14.49 $24.99 Save 42% Current price is $14.49, Original price is $24.99. You Save 42%. View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now
LEND ME® See Details


The #1 international-bestselling tale of greed, violence, and corporate power from the master of Scandinavian noir: “One of his best” (The Times, London).
After killing a man in the line of duty, Inspector Kurt Wallander finds himself deep in a personal and professional crisis; during more than a year of sick leave, he turns to drink and vice to quiet his lingering demons. Once he pulls himself together, he vows to quit the Ystad police force for good—just before a friend who had asked Wallander to look into the death of his father winds up dead himself, shot three times.
Far from leaving police work behind, Wallander instead must investigate a formidable suspect: a powerful business tycoon at the helm of a multinational company engaged in extralegal activities. Ann-Britt Höglund, the department’s first female detective, proves to be Wallander’s best ally as he tries to pierce the smiling façade of the suspicious mogul. But just as he comes close to uncovering the truth, Wallander finds his own life being threatened.
In this “exquisitely plotted” thriller, Henning Mankell’s mastery of the modern police procedural—which has earned him legions of fans worldwide and inspired the BBC show Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh—is on vivid display (Publishers Weekly).
“This is crime fiction of the highest order.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Compelling . . . Skillfully plotted and suspenseful. . . . A thriller for the thinking reader.”
The Dallas Morning News
“Mankell’s novels are a joy.” —USA Today
“Absorbing. . . . In the masterly manner of P.D. James, Mankell projects his hero’s brooding thoughts onto nature itself.” —The New York Times
“Wallander is a loveable gumshoe. . . . He is one of the most credible creations in contemporary crime fiction.” —The Guardian

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595585806
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 11/27/2012
Series: Kurt Wallander Series , #4
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 65,179
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander mysteries are global bestsellers and have been adapted for television as a BAFTA Award–winning BBC series starring Kenneth Branagh. Mankell was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association’s Macallan Gold Dagger and the German Tolerance Prize, among many others. He divides his time between Sweden and Mozambique.


Mozambique, Africa

Date of Birth:

February 3, 1948

Place of Birth:

Stockholm, Sweden


Folkskolan Elementary Shool, Sveg; Högre Allmäna Läroverket, Borås

Read an Excerpt



A silent, stealthy beast of prey. Even though I have lived all my life in Skåne, where fog is forever closing in and shutting out the world, I'll never get used to it.

9 p.m., October 11, 1993.

Fog came rolling in from the sea. He was driving home to Ystad and had just passed Brösarp Hills when he found himself in the thick of the white mass.

Fear overcame him right away.

I'm frightened of fog, he thought. I should be scared of the man I have just been to see at Farnholm Castle instead. The friendly man whose menacing staff always lurk in the background, their faces in the shadows. I should be thinking about him and what I now know is hidden behind that friendly smile. His impeccable standing in the community, above the very least suspicion. He is the one I should be frightened of, not the fog drifting in from Hanö Bay. Not now that I have discovered that he would not hesitate to kill anyone who gets in his way.

He turned on the wipers to try to clear the windshield. He did not like driving in the dark. He particularly disliked it when rabbits scurried this way and that in the headlights.

Once, more than thirty years ago, he had run over a hare. It was on the Tomelilla road, one evening in early spring. He could still remember stamping his foot down on the brake pedal, but then a dull thud against the bodywork. He had stopped and got out. The hare was lying on the road, its back legs kicking. The upper part of its body was paralyzed, but its eyes stared at him. He had had to force himself to find a heavy stone from the verge, and had shut his eyes as he threw it down onto the hare's head. He had hurried back to the car without looking again at the animal.

He had never forgotten those eyes and those wildly kicking legs. The memory kept coming back, again and again, usually at the most unexpected times.

He tried now to put the unpleasantness behind him. A hare that died all of thirty years ago can haunt a man, but it can't harm him, he thought. I have more than enough worries about people still in the land of the living.

He noticed that he was checking his rearview mirror more often than usual.

I'm frightened, he thought again, and I have only just realized that I am running away. I am running from what I know is hidden behind the walls of Farnholm Castle. And they know that I know. But how much? Enough for them to be afraid that I'll break the oath of silence I once took as a newly qualified lawyer? A long time ago that was, when an oath was just that: a sacred commitment to professional secrecy. Are they nervous about their old lawyer's conscience?

Nothing in the rearview mirror. He was alone in the fog, but in under an hour he would be back in Ystad.

The thought cheered him, if only for a moment. So they weren't following him after all. He had made up his mind what he was going to do tomorrow. He would talk to his son, who was also his colleague and a partner in the legal practice. There was always a solution, that was something life had taught him. There had to be one this time too.

He groped on the unlit dashboard for the radio. The car filled with a man's voice talking about the latest research in genetics. Words passed through his brain without his taking them in. He checked his watch: nearly 9:30. Still no one behind him, but the fog seemed to be getting even thicker. Nevertheless, he pressed down on the accelerator a little harder. The further he was from Farnholm Castle, the calmer he felt. Perhaps, after all, he had nothing to fear.

He forced himself to think clearly.

It had begun with a perfectly ordinary telephone call, a message on his desk asking him to contact a man about a contract that urgently needed verifying. He did not recognize the name, but had taken the initiative and made the call: a small law practice in an insignificant Swedish town could not afford to reject a potential client. He could recall even now the voice on the phone: polite, with a northern accent, but at the same time giving the impression of a man who measured out his life in terms of what each minute cost. He had explained the task, a complicated transaction involving a shipping line registered in Corsica and a number of cement cargoes to Saudi Arabia, where one of his companies was acting as an agent for Skanska. There had been some vague, passing reference to an enormous mosque that was to be built in Khamis Mushayt. Or maybe it was a university building in Jeddah.

They had met a few days later at the Continental Hotel in Ystad. He had arrived there early, and the restaurant was not yet open for lunch; he had sat at a table in the corner and watched the man arrive. The only other person there was a Yugoslav waiter staring gloomily out of the window. It was the middle of January, a gale was blowing in from the Baltic, and it would soon be snowing. But the man approaching him was suntanned. He wore a dark blue suit and was definitely no more than fifty. Somehow, he did not belong either in Ystad or in the January weather. He was a stranger, with a smile that did not belong to that suntanned face.

That was the first time he had set eyes on the man from Farnholm Castle. A man without baggage, in a discrete world of his own, in a blue, tailor-made suit, everything centering on a smile, and an alarming pair of shadowy satellites buzzing attentively but in the background.

Oh yes, the shadows had been there even then. He could not recall either of them being introduced. They sat at a table on the other side of the room, and rose without a word when their master's meeting was over.

Golden days, he thought, bitterly, and I was stupid enough to believe in it. A lawyer's vision of the world should not be influenced by the illusion of a paradise to come, not here on earth at least. Within six months the suntanned man had come to be responsible for half of the practice's turnover, and in a year the firm's income had doubled. Bills were paid promptly, it was never necessary to send a reminder. They had been able to afford to redecorate their offices. The man at Farnholm Castle seemed to be managing his business in every corner of the world, and from places that seemed to be chosen more or less at random. Faxes and telephone calls, even the occasional radio transmission, came from the strangest-sounding towns, some he could only with difficulty find on the globe next to the leather sofa in the reception area. But everything had been aboveboard, albeit complex.

The new age has dawned, he remembered thinking. So this is what it's like. As a lawyer, I have to be grateful that the man at Farnholm picked my name from the telephone book.

His train of recollections was cut short. For a moment he thought he was imagining it, but then he clearly made out the headlights in the rearview mirror.

They had crept up on him.

Fear struck him immediately. They had followed him after all. They were afraid he would betray his oath of silence.

His first reaction was to accelerate away through the fog. Sweat broke out on his forehead. The headlights were on his tail. Shadows that kill, he thought. I'll never get away, just as none of the others did.

The car passed him. He caught a glimpse of the driver's face, an old man. Then the red taillights vanished into the fog.

He took out a handkerchief and wiped his face and neck.

I'll soon be home, he thought. Nothing is going to happen. Mrs Dunér has recorded in my diary that I was to be at Farnholm today. Nobody, not even he, would send his henchmen to kill off his own elderly lawyer on the way home from a meeting. It would be far too risky.

It was nearly two years before he first realized that something untoward was going on. It was an insignificant assignment, checking contracts that involved the Swedish Trade Council as guarantors for a considerable sum of money. Spare parts for turbines in Poland, combine harvesters for Czechoslovakia. It was a minor detail, some figures that didn't add up. He thought it was probably a misprint, maybe somewhere two digits had been muddled. He had gone through it all again and realized that it was no accident, it was all intentional. Nothing was missing, everything was correct, but the upshot was horrifying. His first instinct had been not to believe it. He had leaned back in his chair — it was late in the evening, he recalled — taking in that there was no doubt that he had uncovered a crime. It was dawn before he had set out to walk the streets of Ystad, and by the time he reached Stortorget he had reluctantly accepted that there was no alternative explanation: the man at Farnholm Castle was guilty of a gross breach of trust regarding the Trade Council, of tax evasion, and of a whole string of forgeries.

After that he had constantly been on the lookout for the black holes in every document emanating from Farnholm. And he found them — not every time, but more often than not. The extent of the criminality had slowly dawned on him. He tried not to acknowledge the evidence he could not avoid registering, but in the end he had to face up to the facts. But on the other hand he had done nothing about it. He had not even told his son. Was this because, deep down, he preferred to believe it wasn't true? Nobody else, apparently not even the tax authorities, had noticed anything. Perhaps he had uncovered a secret that was purely hypothetical? Or was it that it was all too late anyway, now that the man from Farnholm Castle was the principal source of income for the firm?

The fog was more or less impenetrable now. He hoped it might lift as he got nearer to Ystad.

He couldn't go on like this, that was certain. Not now that he knew that the man had blood on his hands.

He would talk to his son. The rule of law still applied in Sweden, for heaven's sake, even though it seemed to be undermined and diluted day by day. His own complaisance had been a part of that process. His having turned a blind eye for so long was no reason for remaining silent now.

He would never bring himself to commit suicide.

Suddenly he saw something in the headlights. He slammed on the brakes. At first he thought it was a hare. Then he realized there was something in the road.

He turned on his brights.

It was a chair, in the middle of the road. A simple kitchen chair. Sitting on it was a human-sized effigy. Its face was white.

Or could it be a real person made up like a tailor's dummy?

He felt his heart starting to pound. Fog swirled in the light of his headlamps. There was no way he could shut out the chair and the effigy. Nor could he ignore his mounting fear. He checked his rearview mirror. Nothing. He drove slowly forward until the chair and the effigy were no more than ten meters from the car. Then he stopped again.

The dummy looked impressively like a human being. Not just some kind of hastily put-together scarecrow. It's for me, he thought. He switched off the radio, his hand trembling, and pricked up his ears. Fog, and silence. He didn't know what to do next.

What made him hesitate was not the chair out there in the fog, nor the ghostly effigy. There was something else, something in the background, something he couldn't make out. Something that probably existed only inside himself.

I'm very frightened, he said to himself, and fear is undermining my ability to think straight.

Finally, he undid his seat belt and opened the door. He was surprised by how cool it felt outside. He got out, his eyes fixed on the chair and the dummy lit up by the car's headlights. His last thought was that it reminded him of a stage set with an actor about to make his entrance.

He heard a noise behind him, but he didn't turn. The blow caught him on the back of his head.

He was dead before his body hit the damp asphalt.

It was 9:53 p.m. The fog was now very dense.


The wind was gusting from due north.

The man, a long way out on the freezing cold beach, was suffering in the icy blasts. He kept stopping and turning his back to the wind. He would stand there, motionless, staring at the sand, his hands deep in his pockets; then he would go on walking, apparently aimlessly, until he would be lost from sight in the gray twilight.

A woman who walked her dog on the sands every day had grown anxious about the man who seemed to patrol the beach from dawn to dusk. He had turned up out of the blue a few weeks ago, a species of human jetsam washed ashore. People she came across on the beach normally greeted her. It was late autumn, the end of October, so in fact she seldom came across anybody at all. But the man in the black overcoat never acknowledged her. At first she thought he was shy, then rude, or perhaps a foreigner. Gradually she came to feel that he was weighed down by some appalling sorrow, that his beach walks were a pilgrimage taking him away from some unknowable source of pain. His gait was decidedly erratic. He would walk slowly, almost dawdling, then suddenly come to life and break into what was almost a trot. It seemed to her that what dictated his movements was not so much physical as his disturbed spirit. She was convinced that his hands were clenched into fists inside his pockets.

After a week she thought she had worked it out. This stranger had landed on this strand from somewhere or another in order to come to terms with a serious personal crisis, like a vessel with inadequate charts edging its way through a treacherous channel. That must be the cause of his introversion, his restless walking. She had mentioned the solitary wanderer on the beach every night to her husband, whose rheumatism had forced him into early retirement. Once he had even accompanied her and the dog, though his condition caused him a great deal of pain and he was much happier staying indoors. He had thought that his wife was right, though he'd found the man's behavior so strikingly out of the ordinary that he had phoned a friend in the Skagen police and confided in him his own and his wife's observations. Possibly the man was on the run, wanted for some crime, or had absconded from one of the few mental hospitals left in the country? But the police officer had seen so many odd characters over the years, most of them having made the pilgrimage to the furthest tip of Jutland only in search of peace and quiet, that he counseled his friend to be wise: just leave the man alone. The strand between the dunes and the two seas that met there was a constantly changing no-man's-land for whoever needed it.

The woman with her dog and the man in the black overcoat went on passing each other like ships in the night for another week. Then one day — on October 24, 1993, as a matter of fact — something happened which she would later connect with the man's disappearance.

It was one of those rare days when there was not a breath of wind, when the fog lay motionless over both land and sea. Foghorns had been sounding in the distance like lost, invisible cattle. The whole of this strange setting was holding its breath. Then she had caught sight of the man in the black overcoat and stopped dead.

He was not alone. He was with a shortish man in a light-colored windbreaker and cap. She noticed that it was the new arrival who was doing the talking, and seemed to be trying to convince the other about something. Occasionally he took his hands from his pockets and gestured to underline what he was saying. She could not hear what they were saying, but there was something about the smaller man's manner that told her he was upset.

After a while they set off along the beach and were swallowed up by the fog.

The following day the man was alone again. Five days later he was gone. She walked the dog on the beach every morning until well into November, expecting to come across the man in black; but he did not reappear. She never saw him again.

For more than a year Kurt Wallander, a detective chief inspector with the Ystad police, had been on sick leave, unable to carry out his duties. During that time a sense of powerlessness had come to dominate his life and affect his actions. Time and time again, when he could not bear to stay in Ystad and had some money to spare, he had gone off on pointless journeys in the vain hope of feeling better, perhaps even of recovering his zest for life, if only he were somewhere other than Skåne. He had taken a vacation package to the Caribbean, but had drunk himself into a stupor on the outbound flight and had not been entirely sober for any of the two weeks he spent in Barbados. His general state of mind was one of increasing panic, a sense of being totally alienated. He had skulked in the shade of palm trees, and some days had not even set foot outside his hotel room, unable to overcome a primitive need to avoid the company of others. He had bathed just once, and then only when he had stumbled on a jetty and fallen into the sea.


Excerpted from "The Man Who Smiled"
by .
Copyright © 1994 Henning Mankell.
Excerpted by permission of The New Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Compelling . . . skillfully plotted and suspenseful. . . . A thriller for the thinking reader.”
Dallas Morning News

“Mankell’s novels are a joy.”
USA Today

“Absorbing. . . . In the masterly manner of P.D. James, Mankell projects his hero's brooding thoughts onto nature itself.”
The New York Times

“Wallander is a loveable gumshoe. . . . He is one of the most credible creations in contemporary crime fiction.”
The Guardian

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Man Who Smiled (Kurt Wallander Series #4) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I find this book very, very good. I love Mankell's way of writing - the crimes are horrible, the way to solve them very well written, the solutions so clever but also quite natural - he is not one of those, who seem to write thrillers only in order to surprise his readers with strange endings. Mankell also let us enjoy clear descriptions of the people you encounter they really come to life. Mr Wallander, the police man, is a well known person to me and everyone else who reads the books. We have come to know his way of behaving, be aware of his hardships and weaknesses as well as his strenghts and so much more about him. Hs relationship with his daughter and with his father is like stories in themselves. Wallander isn't a totally likable hero more of a real person - but he is still my hero anyway. Mankell can really bring Ystad and their police to life. As a Swede, I have read those books since they were first published and I keep longing for more. I congratulate all of you who are new comers to his books and I hope that you will be as addicted as me, because it is a sheer joy to read his books. I recommend them all - but please be aware that they include detailed descriptions of violence beside all the other masterful
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read Faceless Killers and Dogs of Riga, but missed the White Liones. This book was a nice change of pace from the first two books in the series, which I loved. This book changes the format a bit. You'll love the way this book unfolds. Kurt Wallander is the man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wallander almost retires until a mystery attracts him back to being a policeman. And then he solves some vicious murders and stops a vicious murderer from getting away by taking some questionable actions.
KatherineGregg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am really enjoying the Kurt Wallander series. Wallander is a smart, likeable police detective. Each book in the series is a stand alone so it's not necessary to read the entire series or to read them in order. However reading them in order gives the reader a better understanding of who Wallander is. In The Man Who Smiled, Wallander comes out of a year hiatus after recovering from the manhunt in The White Lioness. Being a police detective is such a big part of his identity that I don't think retirement is his cup of tea. He puts everything into his work and the detective work, the chases, the life threatening scenarios take a toll on this heavy drinking, loner of a police detective. The fact that he is an opera aficionado, the son of an alcoholic painter/artist father, and pining away for a police widow in Russia adds interest to his character.
bookczuk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wallender is an old friend in our home from when he was first available in English. This was an audio read, with a fabulous voice actor, who really got the different characters down beautifully. We loved being back in Sweden, though felt a bit schizophrenic, because we've been reading so much Nordic crime stuff, and also a bit of Harry Bosch, too. Everyone seems to have left the police force, but only Kurt is welcomed back; the Harrys in the other stories are still on the skids with their respective bosses.
gilly1944 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well written as usual with good atmosphere and well developed characters but this is not one of Mankell's best stories.
richardgarside on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first Mankell book and much enjoyed. Chgurlish to criticise but the ending seemed a little hurried after the otherwise measured pace of the book. Good character interaction and depiction. The overrated Branagh TV series put me off reading these up to now, but no longer. On to the next!!
vancouverdeb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kurt Wallender is on sick leave from the Ystad police, depressed and brooding after having killed a man in the line of duty.He has resolved to quit the police force, but the frightening and startling deaths of two men compel him to remain on the force. During the investigation, dark shadows of the enemy follow Kurt and those who knew the two dead lawyers, putting all of them in harms way. Great character development of Kurt Wallender gives us an inside look into the Kurt's emotions, thinking, and motivations . A truly compelling thriller/ mystery. A dark and brooding atmosphere , spine tingling but believable action as well as masterful plotting combine to create a first class story of suspense. This is my fourth Kurt Wallerder mystery by Henning Mankell, and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series.
annbury on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not perhaps the greatest of the Mankell novels, but a masterful thriller, and a very good book. In this one, Inspector Wallander is in deep trouble, drinking too much and planning to quit the Ystad police. But then a friend of Wallander's end up dead, and he is off on the chase. As ever, the police procedural aspects of the book are brilliantly done, with the addition this time of a female detective.
pmarshall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It amazes me that with each Mankell book I read he captures me and makes me such a part of the events. I can feel Kurt's depression, understand his pain about Harderberg leaving Sweden guilty of the murders and able to continue his evil ways elsewhere. It goes against his understanding of justice. And his worries about Christmas with Baiba Liepa. Kurt does not know how to let himself go and enjoy the moment he is too concerned with what can go wrong and he makes me feel this with him. A great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You will always struggle with when to stop in these books. Wallander becomes such an easy character to want to dive into the thoughts of.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It seems that with every Wallander novel the protagonist is fleshed out more and more. Considering the genre this is quite an achievement. Add to that the fact that the story is extremely interesting and you have one hell of a novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago