I read a lot. Mostly books about things. Mostly things like natural history. I hardly ever read fiction. So it comes as a surprise to me to find myself engrossed in a crime fiction series by Swedish writer Henning Mankell featuring detective Kurt Wallander of the Ystad police.
I first stumbled across Wallander in the British TV series starring Ken Branagh. I had never heard of Wallander or Mankell before but I knew I liked Branagh so we thought we’d try it. I was immediately sucked into the rolling and empty landscape of Sweden’s Skåne county, the beauty of the little town of Ystad and gripped by the imaginative crimes, usually a grisly murder, Mankell devised for the melancholy Wallander to solve.
So when the Beeb started showing the Swedish series tucked away on BBC4 I was thrilled. To hear it in Swedish is superb and reading subtitles makes you concentrate even harder and pulls you into the action even more. Krister Henriksson is Wallander superb.
So now I’ve seen them all, and although we have the lot on DVD, I wanted to read the stories for myself as Mankell intended them, and not to see them interpreted through the film company’s eyes. So far, I’m gripped. And I long to visit Ystad and those wild bleak landscapes of southern Sweden.