The Pyramid

August 19, 2015

I didn’t see it coming.

There were 3 more Wallander books on the shelf in the closet (note to Santa: if my family ever reads this blog I’ll have to find a new hiding place for Christmas presents). How could Firewall be the last book in the series? But there it was. The very first sentence of Mankell’s Foreword to The Pyramid, “It was only after I had written the eighth and final installment in the series about Kurt Wallander that I thought of the subtitle I had always sought but never found.”

Closet shelf notwithstanding, I had read the final Wallander book and I had never seen it coming.

So what can I say about The Pyramid collection, subtitled “The First Wallander Cases”?

  1. The pleasure of a Wallander story doesn’t reside in its length. The 5 stories in The Pyramid vary considerably in length. The shortest comes in at 26 pages while the longest is nearly four times as long. They’re all good.
  2. Editing: not as good here as the stories. Typos are sufficiently frequent to be jarring. They are small speed bumps, but distracting just the same. I think there are more typos in these 5 stories than in the 8 previous books combined.
  3. O Wallander, Wallander, Wallander! Why didn’t the Swedish police fire your insubordinate ass after the third book? If Wallander possesses one signature trait it is his willingness to be a loose cannon crime investigator. He is reckless beyond belief, but even though he repeats this grievous pattern in every book and story, again and again over a career spanning decades, all is forgiven, or at least overlooked. Certainly the Fates treat him kindly. Perhaps that’s the secret to a long life as a detective? Just ignore your training. Be foolhardy. I wonder how you translate, “hey Bubba, watch this!” into Swedish?
  4. And while I would never walk into murderer’s apartment without backup (and maybe not even then), Wallander and I do share something very basic. Our bodies tolerate only a narrow range of temperatures. Just two pages into the first chapter of the story called, “The Pyramid,” we read, “He had sweaters for various temperatures and was very selective about what he wore. He hated being cold in the damp Skåne winter and he was annoyed the minute he started to sweat.” Now that’s something I can relate to. My closet contains long-sleeved polar fleece shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, and t-shirts. When I travel I usually pack two or three garments of different weights so that I can always find just the right balance. Kurt is a man after my own heart after all.
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