Trips to Sweden

by Charlotte Reads Classics

I’d love to go to Sweden but seeing as that isn’t imminently on the cards I’ll have to content myself with some Swedish books: Before the Frost by Henning Mankell and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.

Over the last four years I’ve been working my way through the Wallander series and now I only have one left! Before the Frost is another chilling murder investigation, this time with a focus on religious extremism. The book focuses on Kurt Wallander’s daughter Linda as she joins the police force. It was interesting to see the character I feel like I’ve come to know well from another perspective, although I’ve never been particularly fond of Linda.

I’m really sad that I’ve almost come to the end of this series – I’ve just got The Troubled Man left to read. Having said that, I have heard that Henning Mankell’s non-Wallander novels are just as good and I do own copies of Depths and The Man From Beijing which I could try next.

I got into Wallander because of the BBC series with Kenneth Brannagh. The programme is on its third series, and I was pleased to find out that they are showing Before the Frost on Sunday. So it was a well-timed read! I don’t read crime fiction other than Wallander and the occasional Jo Nesbo, but I’d really recommend these. As I have said MANY times before, Mankell is an amazing writer and a master of human psychology. His criminals are often incredibly dark and disturbing, but never so far removed from humanity that you aren’t completely chilled.

If I wasn’t convinced I wanted to read The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by the title, I certainly was by the sticker that was on the envelope containing my copy:

This wasn’t the book I was expecting it to be – it was much more (and better). This is the story of a man who escapes from his retirement home just before his hundredth birthday party. His escape, despite being at quite a low speed, is classic black comedy as he attracts all sorts of shady and eccentric characters. The story keeps flashing back to earlier parts of his life – the more I found out about the man, the more hooked I was! I don’t want to go into the plot details so much because the surprise is really what made this book for me. All in all, reading this felt like a real adventure.