About the Book

Every morning Håkan von Enke takes a walk in the forest near his apartment in Stockholm. However, one winter’s day he fails to come home. It seems that the retired naval officer has vanished without trace.

Detective Kurt Wallander is not officially involved in the investigation but he has personal reasons for his interest in the case as Håkan’s son is engaged to his daughter Linda. A few months earlier, at Håkan’s 75th birthday party, Kurt noticed that the old man appeared uneasy and seemed eager to talk about a controversial incident from his past career that remained shrouded in mystery. Could this be connected to his disappearance? When Håkan’s wife Louise also goes missing, Wallander is determined to uncover the truth.

His search leads him down dark and unexpected avenues involving espionage, betrayal and new information about events during the Cold War that threatens to cause a political scandal on a scale unprecedented in Swedish history. The investigation also forces Kurt to look back over his own past and consider his hopes and regrets, as he comes to the unsettling realisation that even those we love the most can remain strangers to us.

And then an even darker cloud appears on the horizon...

The return of Kurt Wallander, for his final case, has already caused a sensation around the globe. The Troubled Man confirms Henning Mankell’s position as the king of crime writing.

Troubled Man


Translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson


This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

Epub ISBN 9781409019459

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Harvill Secker
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London SW1V 2SA

Harvill Secker is part of the Penguin Random House group of companies whose addresses can be found at

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Copyright © Henning Mankell 2009
English translation copyright © Laurie Thompson 2011

Henning Mankell has asserted his right to be identified as the author of this Work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

First published with the title Den orolige mannen in 2009 by Leopard Förlag, Stockholm in arrangement with Leonhardt & Høier Literary Agency, Copenhagen

First published in Great Britain in 2011 by Harvill Secker

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library



About the Book

Also By Henning Mankell

Title Page


Part 1
Invasion of the Swamps

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Part 2
Incidents Under the Surface

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Part 3
The Sleeping Beauty’s Slumber

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Part 4
The Phantom

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40





Kurt Wallander Series

Faceless Killers

The Dogs of Riga

The White Lioness

The Man Who Smiled


The Fifth Woman

One Step Behind


Before the Frost

The Pyramid


The Return of the Dancing Master

Chronicler of the Winds


Kennedy’s Brain

The Eye of the Leopard

Italian Shoes

The Man from Beijing



I Die, but the Memory Lives On

Young Adult Fiction

A Bridge to the Stars

Shadows in the Twilight

When the Snow Fell

The Journey to the End of the World

Children’s Fiction

The Cat Who Liked Rain

People always leave traces.

No person is without a shadow.

You forget what you want to remember

and remember what you would prefer to forget.

– Graffiti on buildings in New York City


The story begins with a sudden fit of rage.

The cause of it was a report that had been submitted the previous evening, which the prime minister was now reading at his poorly lit desk. But shortly before that, the stillness of morning held sway in the Swedish government offices.

It was 1983, an early-spring day in Stockholm, with a damp fog hovering over the city and trees that had not yet come into leaf.

When Prime Minister Olof Palme finished reading the last page, he stood up and walked over to a window. Seagulls were wheeling around outside.

The report was about the submarines. The accursed submarines that in the autumn of 1982 were presumed to have violated Swedish territorial waters. In the middle of it all there was a general election in Sweden, and Olof Palme had been asked by the Speaker to form a new government since the non-socialist parties had lost several seats and no longer had a parliamentary majority. The first thing the new government did was to set up a commission to investigate the incident with the submarines, which had never been forced to surface. Former defence minister Sven Andersson was chairman of the commission. Olof Palme had now read his report and was none the wiser. The conclusions were incomprehensible. He was furious.

But it should be noted that this was not the first time Palme had got worked up about Sven Andersson. His aversion really dated back to the day in June 1963, just before midsummer, when an elegantly dressed grey-haired fifty-seven-year-old man was arrested on Riksbron in the centre of Stockholm. It was done so discreetly that nobody in the vicinity noticed anything unusual. The man arrested was Stig Wennerström, a colonel in the Swedish air force who had been exposed as a spy for the Soviet Union.

When he was arrested, the prime minister at the time, Tage Erlander, was on his way home from a trip abroad, one of his few holidays, to one of Reso’s resorts in Riva del Sole. When Erlander stepped off the plane and was mobbed by a large crowd of journalists, not only was he totally unprepared, he also knew next to nothing about the incident. Nobody had told him about the arrest, and he had heard nothing about a suspicious Colonel Wennerström. It is possible that the name and the suspicions had been mentioned in passing when the minister of defence held one of his infrequent information sessions with the prime minister, but not in connection with anything serious, anything specific. There were always rumours circulating about suspected Russian spies in the murky waters that constituted the so-called Cold War. And so Erlander’s response was less than illuminating. The man who had been prime minister without a break for what seemed like an eternity – twenty-three years, to be exact – stood there open-mouthed and had no idea what to say since neither Defence Minister Andersson nor anybody else involved had informed him of what was going on. During the last part of his journey home, from Copenhagen to Stockholm, which barely took an hour, he could have been filled in and thus been prepared to say something to the excited journalists; but nobody had met him at Kastrup Airport and accompanied him on the last leg of the flight.

During the days that followed, Erlander came very close to resigning as prime minister and leader of the Social Democrats. Never before had he been so disappointed in his colleagues in government. And Olof Palme, who had already emerged as Erlander’s chosen successor, naturally shared his mentor’s anger at the nonchalance that had resulted in Erlander’s humiliation. Palme watched over his master like a savage bloodhound, as they used to say in circles close to the government.

He could never forgive Sven Andersson for what he had done to Tage Erlander.

Subsequently, a lot of people wondered why Palme included Andersson in his governments. However, it was not particularly difficult to understand why. Of course Palme could have refused; but in practice it simply wasn’t possible. Andersson had a lot of power and a lot of influence among the grass roots of the party. He was the son of a labourer, unlike Palme, who had direct links to Baltic nobility, had officers in his family – indeed, he was a reserve officer himself – and had come from the well-to-do Swedish upper class. He had no grass-roots support in the party. Olof Palme was a defector who was no doubt serious about his political allegiance to the Social Democrats, but, nevertheless, he was an outsider, a political pilgrim who had wandered into the party.


Now Palme could no longer contain his fury. He turned to face Sven Andersson, who was sitting hunched up on the grey sofa in the prime minister’s office. Palme was bright red in the face, and his arms were twitching in the strange way they did when he lost his temper.

‘There is no proof,’ he roared. ‘Only claims, insinuations, nods and winks from disloyal navy officers. This investigation has shed light on nothing at all. On the contrary, it has left us wallowing in political swamps.’

A couple of years before, in the early hours of 28 October 1981, a Soviet submarine had run aground in Gåsefjärden Bay off Karlskrona. The bay was not only Swedish territorial water, but also a military restricted area. The submarine was labelled U-137, and the captain on board, Anatoli Michailovitch Gushchin, maintained that his craft had gone off course because of an unknown defect in its gyrocompass. Swedish naval officers and local fishermen were convinced that only an extremely drunk captain could have managed to penetrate that far into the archipelago without running aground earlier.

On 6 November, U-137 was towed out into international waters and disappeared. But on that occasion there had been no doubt at all that it was a Russian submarine in Swedish territorial waters. However, it was never established if it had been an intentional violation of Swedish sovereignty or a case of drunkenness at sea. No respectable navy would admit, of course, that their commanding officer had been drunk while on duty.

So their denial was regarded as proof that he had been. But where was the proof now?

No one knows what former minister of defence Andersson had to say in his own defence and that of his investigation. He made no notes, and Olof Palme was assassinated a year or so afterwards; he left no witness accounts either.

So it all began with a fit of rage. This story about the realities of politics, this journey into the swamps where truth and lies are indistinguishable and nothing is clear.


Invasion of the Swamps


The year Kurt Wallander celebrated his fifty-fifth birthday, he fulfilled a long-held dream. Ever since his divorce from Mona fifteen years earlier, he had intended to leave his apartment in Mariagatan, where so many unpleasant memories were etched into the walls, and move out to the country. Every time he came home in the evening after a stressful and depressing workday, he was reminded that once upon a time he had lived there with a family. Now the furniture stared at him as if accusing him of desertion.

He could never reconcile himself to living there until he became so old that he might not be able to look after himself any more. Although he had not yet reached the age of sixty, he reminded himself over and over again of his father’s lonely old age, and he knew he had no desire to follow in his footsteps. He needed only to look into the bathroom mirror in the morning when he was shaving to see that he was growing more and more like his father. When he was young, his face had resembled his mother’s. But now it seemed as if his father was taking him over – like a runner who has been lagging a long way behind but is slowly catching up the closer he gets to the invisible finishing line.

Wallander’s world view was fairly simple. He did not want to become a bitter hermit growing old in isolation, being visited only by his daughter and perhaps now and then by a former colleague who had suddenly remembered that Wallander was still alive. He had no religious hopes of there being something in store for him on the other side of the black River Styx. There would be nothing but the same darkness that he had once emerged from. Until his fiftieth birthday, he had harboured a vague fear of death, something that had become his own personal mantra – that he would be dead for such a long time. He had seen far too many dead bodies in his life. There was nothing in their expressionless faces to suggest that their souls had been absorbed into some kind of heaven. Like so many other police officers, he had experienced every possible variation of death. Just after his fiftieth birthday had been celebrated with a party and cake at the police station, marked by a speech full of empty phrases by the former chief of police, Liza Holgersson, he had bought a new notebook and tried to record his memories of all the dead people he had come across. It had been a macabre exercise and he had no idea why he had been tempted to pursue it. When he got as far as the tenth suicide, a man in his forties, a drug addict with more or less every problem it was possible to imagine, he gave up. The man had hanged himself in the attic of the condemned apartment building where he lived, hanging in such a way that he was guaranteed to break his neck and hence avoid being slowly choked to death. His name was Welin. The pathologist had told Wallander that the man had been successful – he had proved to be a skilful executioner. At that point Wallander had abandoned his suicide cases and instead stupidly devoted several hours in an attempt to recall the young people or children he had found dead. But he soon gave that up as well. It was too repugnant. Then he felt ashamed of what he had been trying to do and burned the notebook, as if his efforts were both perverted and illegal. In fact, he was basically a cheerful person – it was just that he had allowed another side of his personality to take over.

Death had been his constant companion. He had killed people in the line of duty – but after the obligatory investigation he had never been accused of unnecessary violence.

Having killed two people was the cross he had to bear. If he rarely laughed, it was because of what he had been forced to endure.

But one day he made a critical decision. He had been out near Löderup, not far from the house where his father used to live, to talk to a farmer who had been the target of a very nasty robbery. On the way back to Ystad he noticed an estate agent’s sign picturing a little dirt road where there was a house for sale. He reacted automatically, stopped the car, turned round and found his way to the address. Even before he got out of the car it was obvious to him that the property was in need of repair. It had originally been a U-shaped building, the bottom half clad in wood. But now one of the wings was missing – perhaps it had burned down. He walked round the house. It was a day in early autumn. He could still remember seeing a skein of geese migrating south, flying directly above his head. He peered in through the windows and soon established that only the roof badly needed to be fixed. The view was enchanting; he could just make out the sea in the far distance, and possibly even one of the ferries on the way to Ystad from Poland. That afternoon in September 2003 marked the beginning of a love story with this remote house.

He drove straight to the estate agent’s office in the centre of Ystad. The asking price was low enough that he would be able to manage the mortgage payments. The very next day he returned to negotiate with the agent, a young man who spoke at breakneck speed and gave the impression of living in a parallel universe. The previous owners were a young couple who had moved to Skåne from Stockholm but almost immediately, before they even had time to buy furniture, decided to split up. Yet there was nothing hidden in the walls of the empty house that scared him. And the most important thing was crystal clear: he would be able to move in without delay. The roof would last for another year or two; all he needed to do was to redecorate some of the rooms, perhaps install a new bath and maybe acquire a new stove. But the boiler was less than fifteen years old, and all the plumbing and electrical fittings no older.

Before leaving, Wallander asked if there were any other potential buyers. There was one, said the agent, looking distinctly worried, as if he really wanted Wallander to get the house but at the same time implying that he had better make his mind up fast. But Wallander had no intention of rushing in blindly. He spoke to one of his colleagues whose brother was a surveyor and managed to arrange for the expert to inspect the house the very next day. He found nothing wrong apart from what Wallander had already noticed. That same day Wallander spoke to his bank manager and was informed that he could rely on a mortgage big enough to buy the house. During all his years in Ystad, Wallander had saved up a lot of money without ever thinking much about it. Enough for the down payment.

That evening he sat at his kitchen table and made detailed financial calculations. He found the occasion solemn and significant. By midnight he had made up his mind: he would buy the house, which had the dramatic-sounding name of Black Heights. Despite the late hour, he called his daughter, Linda, who lived in a new development just off the main road to Malmö. She was still awake.

‘You must come over,’ said Wallander excitedly. ‘I’ve got news for you.’

‘What? In the middle of the night?’

‘I know it’s your day off tomorrow.’

It had been a complete surprise to him a few years earlier when, during a walk along the beach at Mossby Strand, Linda told him she had decided to follow in his footsteps and join the police force. It cheered him up instantly. In a way it was as if she was giving new meaning to all the years he had been a police officer. When she finished her training, she was assigned to the Ystad force. The first few months, she lived with him in the apartment in Mariagatan. It was not an ideal arrangement; he was set in his ways, and he also found it hard to accept that she was grown up now. But their relationship was saved when she managed to find an apartment of her own.

When she arrived in the early hours, he told her what he was planning to do. The next day she accompanied him to the house and said immediately that it was perfect. No other house would do, only this one at the end of a dirt road at the top of a gentle slope down to the sea.

‘Grandad will haunt you,’ she said. ‘But you don’t need to be afraid. He’ll be a sort of guardian angel.’

It was a significant and happy moment in Wallander’s life when he signed the contract of sale and suddenly found himself standing there with a bunch of keys in his hand. He moved in on 1 November, having redecorated two rooms but having refrained from buying a new stove. He left Mariagatan without the slightest doubt that he was doing the right thing. A south-easterly gale was blowing the day he moved in.

That first evening, with the storm raging, he lost electricity. Wallander sat in his new home in pitch darkness. There was groaning and creaking coming from the rafters, and he discovered a leak in the ceiling. But he had no regrets. This was where he was going to live.

There was a dog kennel outside the house. Ever since he was a little boy Wallander had dreamed of having a dog. By the time he was thirteen he had given up hope, but out of the blue he got one as a present from his parents. He loved that dog more than anything else in the world. Looking back, it felt like the dog, Saga, had taught him what love could be. When she was three years old, she was run over by a truck. The shock and sorrow were worse than anything he had experienced in his young life. More than forty years later, Wallander had no difficulty recalling all those chaotic emotions. Death strikes, he sometimes thought. It has a powerful and unforgiving fist.

Two weeks later he acquired a dog, a black Labrador puppy. He wasn’t quite a pure-bred, but he was nevertheless described by the owner as top class. Wallander had decided in advance that the dog would be called Jussi, after the world-famous Swedish tenor who was one of Wallander’s greatest heroes.

Nearly four years after he bought the house, on 12 January 2007, Wallander’s whole life changed in an instant.

As he stepped out into the hall a few paces behind Kristina Magnusson, whom he liked viewing from behind when nobody was looking, the phone rang in his office. He considered ignoring it, but instead he turned and went back in. It was Linda. She had a few days off, having worked on New Year’s Eve, during which Ystad had been unusually lively, with lots of cases of domestic violence and assaults.

‘Do you have a minute?’

‘Not really. We’re on the verge of identifying some crooks in a big case.’

‘I need to see you.’

Wallander thought she sounded tense. He started to worry, as he always did, that something might have happened to her.

‘Is it anything serious?’

‘Not at all.’

‘I can meet you at one o’clock.’

‘Mossby Strand beach?’

Wallander thought she was joking.

‘Should I bring my swimming costume?’

‘I’m serious. Mossby Strand. But no swimming costume.’

‘Why do we have to go out there in the cold with this icy wind blowing?’

‘I’ll be there at one o’clock. So will you.’

She hung up before he could ask anything else. What did she want? He stood there, trying in vain to think of an answer. Then he went to the conference room with the best television set and sat for two hours going through CCTV footage for the case he was working on, the brutal attack and robbery of an elderly arms dealer and his wife. As twelve thirty approached, they were still only halfway through. Wallander stood up and announced that they could review the rest of the tapes after two o’clock. Martinsson, one of the officers Wallander had worked with longest in Ystad, looked at him in surprise.

‘You mean we should stop now? With so much still to do? You don’t usually break for lunch.’

‘I’m not going to eat. I have an appointment.’

He left the room, thinking that his tone of voice had been unnecessarily sharp. He and Martinsson were not only colleagues, they were also friends. When Wallander threw his housewarming party out at Löderup it was of course Martinsson who gave a speech in praise of him, the dog and the house. We are like an old hard-working couple, he thought as he left the police station. An old couple who are always bickering, mainly to keep each other on our toes.

He went to his car, a Peugeot he’d had for the last four years, and drove off. How many times have I driven along this road? How many more times will I drive along it? As he waited for a red light to change, he remembered something his father had told him about a cousin Wallander had never met. His cousin used to be captain of a ferry plying between several islands in the Stockholm archipelago – short trips, no more than five minutes at a time, but year in, year out, the same crossings. One afternoon in October something snapped inside him. The ferry had a full load, but he suddenly changed course and headed straight out to sea. He said later that he knew there was enough diesel in the tank to take him as far as one of the Baltic states. But that was all he said, after he was overpowered by angry passengers and the coast guard raced out to put the ferry back on course. He never explained why he did what he did.

But in a vague sort of way, Wallander thought he understood him.

As he drove west along the coast road he could see dark thunderclouds building up on the horizon. The radio had warned that there was a risk of more snow in the evening. Shortly before he passed the side road to Marsvinsholm he was overtaken by a motorcycle. The rider waved at him and made Wallander think of something that frightened him more than anything else: that one of these days Linda would have a motorcycle accident. He had been totally unprepared when, several years earlier, she turned up outside his apartment on her newly bought bike, a Harley-Davidson covered in glittering chrome. His first question when she took off her crash helmet was whether she had lost her mind.

‘You don’t know about all my dreams,’ she had said with a broad, happy grin. ‘Just as I’m sure I don’t know all yours.’

‘I don’t dream about a motorbike, that’s for sure.’

‘Too bad. We could have gone for rides together.’

He had gone so far as to promise to buy her a car and pay for all her petrol if she got rid of the motorcycle. But she refused, and he knew that the battle was lost. She had inherited his stubbornness, and he would never be able to take the motorcycle away from her, no matter what temptations he could offer.

When he turned into the car park at Mossby Strand, which was deserted and windswept, she had taken off her helmet and was standing on top of a sand dune, her hair fluttering in the wind. Wallander switched off the engine and sat looking at her, his daughter in the dark leather outfit and the expensive boots from a factory in California that she had paid nearly a month’s wages for. Once upon a time she was a little girl sitting on my knee, Wallander thought, and I was the biggest hero in her life. Now she is thirty-six, a police officer just like me, with a brain of her own and a big smile. What more could I ask for?

He stepped out into the wind and ploughed his way through the soft sand until he was standing by her side. She smiled at him.

‘Something happened here,’ she said. ‘Do you remember what?’

‘You told me that you were going to become a police officer. On this very spot.’

‘I’m thinking of something else.’

Wallander realised what she was getting at.

‘A rubber dinghy drifted ashore here, with two dead men inside it,’ he said. ‘So many years ago that I can’t remember exactly when. An incident from a different world, you might say.’

‘Tell me about that world.’

‘That couldn’t possibly be why you made me come here.’

‘Tell me anyway!’

Wallander stretched out his hand towards the water.

‘We didn’t know much about the countries on the other side of the sea. We sometimes pretended the Baltic states didn’t exist. We were cut off from our nearest neighbours. And they were cut off from us. But then that rubber dinghy came ashore, and the investigation took me to Latvia, to Riga. I went behind the Iron Curtain that no longer exists. The world was different then. Not worse, not better, just different.’

‘I’m going to have a baby,’ said Linda. ‘I’m pregnant.’

Wallander held his breath, as if he didn’t understand what she’d said. Then he stared at her stomach, hidden behind her leather suit. She burst out laughing.

‘There’s nothing to see. I’m only in the second month.’

Looking back, Wallander remembered every detail of that meeting with Linda, when she told him her staggering news. They walked down to the beach, leaning into the howling wind. She answered his questions. When he arrived back at the police station an hour late, he had almost forgotten all about the investigation he was in charge of.

Shortly before the end of that day, just as it was beginning to snow again, they finally found pictures of the two men who had probably been involved in the arms theft and brutal murder. Wallander summed up what they all knew: that they had taken a big step towards solving this case.

When the meeting ended and everybody was gathering together their papers, Wallander felt an almost irresistible urge to tell them about the great joy he had just been gifted with.

But he said nothing, of course.

He wouldn’t allow his colleagues to come that close to his private life, not ever.


On 30 August 2007, shortly after two in the afternoon, Linda gave birth to a daughter, Kurt Wallander’s first grandchild, at Ystad Hospital. The delivery was normal, and also punctual – on the exact day predicted by her midwife. Wallander had taken the precaution of being on holiday at the time, and he spent the day trying to mix a bucket of cement in order to repair cracks under the porch roof next to the front door. It wasn’t all that successful, but at least it kept him occupied. When the phone rang and he was informed that from now on he was entitled to call himself Grandad, he started crying. The feeling took him by surprise, and for a while he was utterly defenceless.

It wasn’t Linda who called, but the baby’s father, financier Hans von Enke. Wallander didn’t want to reveal how emotional he was, so he merely thanked von Enke for the news, sent his greetings to Linda and hung up.

Then he went for a long walk with Jussi. Skåne was still luxuriating in the heat of late summer. There had been thunderstorms during the night, and now, after the rain, the air was fresh and easy to breathe. At last Wallander was able to admit to himself that he had often wondered why Linda had never before expressed a desire to have children. Now she was thirty-seven years old, in Wallander’s opinion far too late in life for a woman to be a mother. Mona had been much younger when Linda was born. He had kept an eye on Linda’s relationships from a discreet distance; he had preferred some boyfriends to others. Occasionally he had been convinced that she had finally found the right man – but then it was suddenly all over, and she never told him why. Even though Wallander and Linda were very close, there were certain things they never discussed. One of the taboo subjects was having children.

That day on the windswept beach at Mossby Strand was the first he had heard about the man she was going to have a child with. It was a complete surprise to Wallander, who had thought his daughter wasn’t even in a steady relationship at the time.

Linda had met Hans von Enke through mutual friends in Copenhagen, at a dinner to celebrate an engagement. Hans was from Stockholm, but had been living in Copenhagen for the last couple of years, working for a finance company that specialised in setting up hedge funds. Linda had found him somewhat self-important, and had been annoyed by him. She informed him, rather fiercely, that she was a simple police officer, badly paid, and had no idea what a hedge fund was. It ended up with them going for a long evening stroll through the streets of Copenhagen, and deciding to meet again. Hans von Enke was two years younger than Linda, and didn’t have any children either. Both of them had decided from the very start, without saying as much but nevertheless being quite clear about it, that they were going to try and have children together.

Two days after the revelation, Linda came in the evening to Wallander’s house with the man she had decided to live with. Hans von Enke was tall and thin, balding, with piercing bright blue eyes. Wallander immediately felt uncomfortable in his presence, found his way of expressing himself off-putting, and wondered what on earth had inspired Linda to take a shine to him. When she had told him that Hans’s salary was three times as big as her father’s, and that in addition he received a bonus every year that could be as much as a million kronor, Wallander had concluded depressingly that it must be the money that attracted her. That thought annoyed him so much that the next time he saw Linda he asked her outright. They were sitting in a cafe in the middle of Ystad. Linda had been so angry that she had thrown a roll at him and stormed out. He had hurried after her and apologised. No, it had nothing to do with the money, she explained. It was genuine and all-consuming love, something she had never experienced before.

Wallander made up his mind to try hard to view his future son-in-law more sympathetically. Via the Internet and with the aid of the bank manager who handled his modest affairs in Ystad, Wallander found out as much as he could about the finance company Hans worked for. He discovered what hedge funds were, and many more details alleged to be the basis of a modern finance company’s activities. Hans von Enke invited him to Copenhagen and took him on a tour of his opulent offices at Rundetårn. Afterwards, Hans invited him to lunch, and when Wallander returned to Ystad he no longer had the feeling of inferiority that had affected him at their first meeting. He called Linda from the car and told her that he had begun to appreciate the man she had chosen.

‘He has one fault,’ said Linda. ‘He doesn’t have enough hair. Otherwise he’s OK.’

‘I’m looking forward to the day when I can show him my office.’

‘I’ve already shown him. Last week when he was here visiting. Didn’t anybody tell you?’

Needless to say, nobody had said a word about it to Wallander. That evening he sat at his kitchen table, pencil in hand, and worked out Hans von Enke’s annual salary. He was astonished when he saw the final figure. Once again he had a vague feeling of unease. After all his years in the police force, his own salary was barely 40,000 kronor per month. He regarded that as a high wage. But he wasn’t the one getting married. The money might or might not be what would make Linda happy. It was none of his business.

In March, Linda and Hans moved in together in a big house outside Rydsgård that the young financier had bought. He started commuting to Copenhagen, and Linda carried on working in Ystad. Once they had settled in, Linda invited Kurt to dinner at their place the following Saturday. Hans’s parents would be there, and obviously they would like to meet Linda’s father.

‘I’ve spoken to Mum,’ she said.

‘Is she coming too?’


‘Why not?’

Linda shrugged.

‘I think she’s unwell.’

‘What’s the matter with her?’

Linda looked long and hard at him before answering.

‘Too much booze. I think she’s drinking more than ever now.’

‘I didn’t know that.’

‘There’s a lot you don’t know.’

Wallander accepted the invitation to dinner to meet Hans von Enke’s parents. The father, Håkan von Enke, was a former commander in the Swedish navy and had been in command of both submarines and surface vessels that specialised in hunting down submarines. Linda wasn’t sure, but she thought that at one time he had been a member of a team that decided when military units were allowed to open fire on an enemy. Hans von Enke’s mother was named Louise and had been a language teacher. Hans was an only child.

‘I’m not used to mixing with the nobility,’ Wallander said sombrely when Linda finished speaking.

‘They’re just like everybody else. I think you’ll find you have a lot to talk about.’

‘Such as?’

‘You’ll find out. Don’t be so negative.’

‘I’m not being negative! I just wonder –’

‘We’ll be eating at six o’clock. Don’t be late. And don’t bring Jussi. He’ll just make a nuisance of himself.’

‘Jussi’s a very obedient dog. How old are they, Hans’s parents?’

‘Håkan will be seventy-five shortly; Louise is a year or two younger. And Jussi never takes any notice of what you tell him to do – you should know that, since you’ve failed to train him properly. Thank God you did better with me.’

She left the room before Wallander had time to reply. For a moment or two he tried to get annoyed by the fact that she always had to have the last word, but he couldn’t manage it and returned to his papers.

It was drizzling unseasonably over Skåne on Saturday when he set off from Ystad to meet Hans von Enke’s parents. He had been sitting in his office since early morning, yet again, for who knows how many times, going through the most important parts of the investigation material concerning the death of the arms dealer and the stolen revolvers. They thought they had identified the thieves, but they still had no proof. I’m not looking for a key, he thought. I’m hunting for the slightest sound of a distant tinkling from a bunch of keys. He had worked his way through about half of the voluminous documentation by three o’clock. He decided to go home, sleep for an hour or two, then get dressed for dinner. Linda had said Hans’s parents were sometimes a bit formal for her taste, but given that, she suggested her father wear his best suit.

‘I only have the one I wear at funerals,’ said Wallander. ‘But perhaps I shouldn’t put on a white tie?’

‘You don’t need to come at all if you think it’s going to be so awful.’

‘I was only trying to make a joke.’

‘You failed. You have at least three blue ties. Pick one of those.’

As Wallander sat in a taxi on the way back to Löderup at about midnight, he decided that the evening had turned out to be much more pleasant than he had expected. He had found it easy to talk to both the retired commander and his wife. He was always on his guard when he met people he didn’t know, thinking they would regard the fact that he was a police officer with barely concealed contempt. But he hadn’t detected any such tendency in either of them. On the contrary, they had displayed what he considered to be genuine interest in his work. Moreover, Håkan von Enke had views about how the Swedish police were organised and about various shortcomings in several well-known criminal investigations that Wallander tended to agree with. And he in turn had an opportunity to ask questions about submarines, the Swedish navy, and the current downsizing of the Swedish defence facilities, to which he received knowledgeable and entertaining answers. Louise von Enke hardly spoke but sat there for most of the time with a friendly smile on her face, listening to the others talking.

After he had called a cab, Linda accompanied him as far as the gate. She held on to his arm and leaned her head on his shoulder. She did that only when she was pleased with him.

‘So I did OK?’ asked Wallander.

‘You were better than ever. You can if you make an effort.’

‘I can what?’

‘Behave yourself. You can even ask intelligent questions about things that have nothing to do with police work.’

‘I liked them. But I didn’t get to know her very well.’

‘Louise? That’s the way she is. She doesn’t say much. But she listens better than all the rest of us put together.’

‘She seemed a bit mysterious.’

They had come out onto the road and stood under a tree to avoid the drizzle, which had continued to fall all evening.

‘I don’t know anyone as secretive as you,’ said Linda. ‘For years I thought you had something to hide. But I’ve learned that only a few mysterious people are in fact hiding something.’

‘And I’m not one of them?’

‘I don’t think so. Am I right?’

‘I suppose. But maybe people sometimes hide secrets they don’t even know they have.’

The taxi headlights cut though the darkness. It was one of those bus-like vehicles becoming more and more common with cab companies.

‘I hate those buses,’ said Wallander.

‘Don’t start getting worked up now! I’ll bring your car tomorrow.’

‘I’ll be at the police station from ten o’clock on. Go in now and find out what they thought of me. I’ll expect a report tomorrow.’

She delivered his car the following day, shortly before eleven.

‘Good,’ she said as she entered his office, as usual without knocking.

‘What do you mean, “Good”?’

‘They liked you. Håkan had a funny way of putting it. He said: “Your dad is an excellent acquisition for the family.”’

‘I don’t even know what that means.’

She put the car keys on his desk. She was in a hurry since she and Hans had planned an outing with his parents. Wallander glanced out the window. The clouds were beginning to open up.

‘Are you going to get married?’ he asked before she disappeared through the door.

‘They very much want us to,’ she said. ‘I’d be grateful if you didn’t start nagging us too. We want to see if we’re compatible.’

‘But you’re going to have a baby?’

‘That will be fine. But being able to put up with each other for the rest of our lives is a different matter.’

She disappeared. Wallander listened to her rapid footsteps, the heels of her boots clicking against the floor. I don’t know my daughter, he thought. There was a time when I thought I did, but now I can see that she’s more and more of a stranger to me.

He stood by the window and gazed out at the old water tower, the pigeons, the trees, the blue sky emerging through the dispersing clouds. He felt deeply uneasy, an aura of desolation all around him. Or maybe it was actually inside him? As if he were turning into an hourglass with the sand silently running out. He continued watching the pigeons and the trees until the feeling drifted away. Then he went back to his desk and continued doggedly reading through the reports piled high in front of him.

Wallander spent Christmas with Linda’s family. He observed his granddaughter, who still hadn’t been given a name, with admiration and restrained joy. Linda insisted that the girl looked like him, especially her eyes, but Wallander couldn’t see any similarities, no matter how hard he tried.

‘The girl should have a name,’ he said as they sat drinking wine on Christmas Eve.

‘All in good time,’ said Linda.

‘We think the name will announce itself one of these days,’ said Hans.

‘Why am I named Linda?’ she asked out of the blue. ‘Where does that come from?’

‘You can blame me,’ said Wallander. ‘Mona wanted to name you something different; I can’t remember what. But as far as I was concerned, you were Linda from the very beginning. Your granddad thought you should be called Venus.’


‘As you know, he wasn’t always all there. Don’t you like your name?’

‘I’ve got a good name,’ she said. ‘And you don’t need to worry. If we get married, I’m not going to change my surname. I’ll never be Linda von Enke.’

‘Perhaps I should become a Wallander,’ said Hans. ‘But I don’t think my parents would like that.’

Over the next few days, Wallander spent his time organising all the paperwork that had accumulated during the past year. It was a routine he had instigated years ago – before ringing out the old year, make room for all the junk that would build up during the one to come.

The evening the verdicts in the arms theft trial were made public, Wallander decided to stay at home and watch a film. He had invested in a satellite dish and now had access to lots of film channels. He took his service pistol home with him, intending to clean it. He was behind in his shooting practice and knew he would need to submit to a test by the beginning of February at the latest. His desk wasn’t cleared, but he had no pressing business. I’d better make the most of the opportunity, he thought. I can watch a film tonight; tomorrow might be too late.

But after he got home and took Jussi out for a walk, he started to feel restless. He sometimes felt abandoned in his house out in the wilds, surrounded by empty fields. Like a wrecked ship, he sometimes thought. I’ve run aground in the middle of all these brown muddy fields. This restlessness usually passed quickly, but tonight it persisted. He sat in the kitchen, spread out an old newspaper and cleaned his gun. By the time he’d finished it was still only eight o’clock. He had no idea what inspired him, but he made up his mind, changed his clothes and drove back into Ystad. The town was always more or less deserted, especially on weekday evenings. No more than two or three restaurants or bars would be open. Wallander parked his car and went to a restaurant in the square. It was almost empty. He sat at a corner table, then ordered an appetiser and a bottle of wine. While he was waiting for the food, he gulped down a few glasses. He told himself he was swilling the alcohol in order to put his mind at rest. By the time the food arrived, he was already drunk.

‘The place is dead,’ said Wallander. ‘Where is everybody?’

The waiter shrugged.

‘Not here, that’s for sure,’ he said. ‘Enjoy your meal.’

Wallander only picked at the food. He dug out his mobile phone and scrolled through the numbers in his address book. He wanted to talk to someone. But who? He put the phone down since he didn’t want anyone to know that he was drunk. The wine bottle was empty, and he had already had more than enough. But even so, he ordered a cup of coffee and a glass of cognac when the waiter came to tell him the place was about to close. He stumbled when he got to his feet. The waiter gave him a tired look.

‘Taxi,’ said Wallander.

The waiter called from the telephone attached to the wall next to the bar. Wallander could feel himself swaying from side to side. The waiter replaced the receiver, and nodded.

The wind was icy cold when Wallander came out into the street. He sat in the back seat of the taxi and was almost asleep by the time it turned into his driveway. He left his clothes in a pile on the floor, and passed out the moment he lay down.


Half an hour after Wallander fell asleep, a man hurried into the police station. He was agitated, and asked to speak to the night duty officer. It happened to be Martinsson.

The man explained that he was a waiter. Then he put a plastic bag on the table in front of Martinsson. In it was a gun, similar to the one Martinsson had.

The waiter even knew the name of the customer, since Wallander was well known in town.

Martinsson filled out a criminal offence form, then sat there for a long time staring at the revolver.

How on earth could Wallander have forgotten his service weapon? And why had he taken it to the restaurant?

Martinsson checked the clock: just after midnight. He really should have called Wallander, but he didn’t.

That conversation could wait until tomorrow. He wasn’t looking forward to it.


When Wallander arrived at the police station the following day, there was a message waiting for him at the front desk, from Martinsson. Wallander swore under his breath. He was hung-over and felt awful. If Martinsson wanted to speak to him the moment he arrived, it could mean only that something had happened that required Wallander’s immediate presence. If only it could have waited for a couple of days, he thought. Or at least a few hours. Right now all he wanted to do was to close the door to his office, unplug his phone, and try to get some sleep with his feet on his desk. He took off his jacket, emptied an open bottle of mineral water, then went to see Martinsson, who now had the office that used to be Wallander’s.

He knocked on the door and went in. The moment he saw Martinsson’s face he realised it was serious. Wallander could always read his mood, which was important since Martinsson swung constantly between energetic exhilaration and glum dejection.

Wallander sat down in the guest chair.

‘What happened? You only write me notes like that if something important has come up.’

Martinsson stared at him in surprise.

‘You mean you have no idea what I want to talk to you about?’

‘No. Should I?’

Martinsson didn’t reply. He merely continued looking at Wallander, who began to feel even worse than he had before.

‘I’m not going to sit here guessing,’ he said in the end. ‘What is it you want?’

‘You still have no idea why I want to talk to you?’


‘That makes things harder.’

Martinsson opened a drawer, took out Wallander’s service pistol and put it on the desk in front of him.

‘I take it you know what I’m talking about now?’

Wallander stared at the revolver. A shudder ran down his spine, and almost succeeded in banishing his hangover. He recalled having cleaned his gun the previous evening – but then what happened? He groped around in his memory. The gun had migrated from his kitchen table to Martinsson’s desk. But how it had got there, what had happened in between, he had no idea. He had no explanations, no excuses.

‘You went to a restaurant last night,’ said Martinsson. ‘Why did you take your gun with you?’

Wallander shook his head incredulously. He still couldn’t remember. Had he put it in his jacket pocket when he drove into Ystad? No matter how unlikely that seemed, apparently he must have.

‘I don’t know,’ Wallander admitted. ‘My mind’s a blank. Tell me.’

‘A waiter came here around midnight,’ said Martinsson. ‘He was agitated because he had found the gun on the bench you had been sitting on.’

Vague fragments of memory were racing around in Wallander’s mind. Maybe he had taken the gun out of his jacket when he’d used his mobile phone? But how could he possibly have forgotten it?

‘I have no idea what happened,’ he said. ‘But I suppose I must have put the gun in my pocket when I went out.’

Martinsson stood up and opened the door.

‘Would you like a coffee?’

Wallander shook his head. Martinsson disappeared into the hall. Wallander reached for the gun and saw that it was loaded. He broke into a sweat. The thought of shooting himself flashed through his mind. He moved the gun so that the barrel was pointing at the window. Martinsson came back.

‘Can you help me?’ Wallander asked.

‘I’m afraid not this time. The waiter recognised you. You’ll have to go from here straight to the boss.’

‘Have you already spoken to him?’

‘It would have been dereliction of duty if I hadn’t.’