About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Before the Frost by Henning Mankell

6. - 469.) Before the Frost by Henning Mankell – The first and apparently last Kurt and Linda Wallender novel is a great mystery. It opens with a survivor’s recounting of the Jonestown, Guyana massacre of 1978. It continues 23 years later in August of 2001 with Linda returning to Ystaad after completing her training as a police officer. (I was immediately struck that Jonathan began living in Sweden in August of 2001.) As with several in the series an unknown character commits a horrorific inexplicable crime. This time a group of swans are set afire. Further ritualistic killings of animals take place. One of Linda’s high school friends, Anna, disappears after claiming to have seen her father who had deserted Anna and her mother over 24 years ago. Linda, putting in slow time, while she waits to start her police career tries to determine what has happened to Anna. Gradually Linda is drawn into the investigation with her father. The connections with Jonestown remain hidden to them. While waiting for her apartment she is living with him. Their complex relationship adds tremendous personality to the mystery. In most previous books Kurt had almost no personal life. He is far more human in this book. They have a real parent-child relationship. As usual Mankell skillfully builds the tension as the disparate threads of the investigation ever so slowly come together and then suddenly accelerate to a dramatic conclusion. As in Firewall a conspiracy is made very plausible. The last 100 pages raced by. He is a great author. (Jan. 27/09) (Tied for Fourth Best fiction of 2009)


  1. Bill your post have just remind me that I still have this book in my TBR shelf and I should not let it there.

  2. Nice review. I think this is my favourite Wallander, though I read them over a period of so many years, in the bizarre order in which they were pubilshed in the UK, that I may have forgotten others.

    The character of Linda is a great development over the series. I can't remember if she appears in any other books after this one, but she certainly is a very significant character in the last Wallander book, The Troubled Man.

  3. Bill - Thanks for the fine review. I like the way Mankell ties in past and present in this novel. And like you, I like seeing the fatherly side of Wallander's character.

  4. Jose Ignacio: It is worth moving to the front or top of the shelf depending on how you stack the TBR books.

  5. Maxine: Thanks for the comment. I still believe Linda could replace Kurt and carry a new series. I equally like her alot as a character.

  6. Margot: Thanks for the comment. After reading The Troubled Man I wish Before the Frost had been the closing book to the series. I found it a considerably better book.