Return of the Dancing Master, The
Swedish police officer Stefan Lindman is engaged on all fronts. He has just been diagnosed with cancer, and a former colleague, Herbert Molin, has been found brutally murdered. Deciding to investigate the murder while having to face up to his own mortality, Stefan must contend with no witnesses, no apparent motive, and a crime scene with bloody footprints that mimic the steps of a tango. As chilling as its Scandinavian setting, this intricately choreographed novel is an engaging contemporary mystery that examines the lingering legacy of Nazism. Translated from Swedish.
Comments from Groups
Most of the group enjoyed reading the book as it was a different genre from our other selections this year. It was well written and well translated. The main character was not particularly likeable, but the description of the Swedish countryside in winter as Lindman moved around was most evocative. The different themes in the book were great discussion topics. The notes provided were excellent. Paraparaumu 001
A marvellous read - Henning Mankell is a master in the field of detective thrillers. Nelson 003
Most people enjoyed the book but some found it rather gruesome. There were interesting revelations about the involvement with the Nazi party by some Swedish citizens during the war, which most of us were unaware of. Most would recommend it to other groups, and it resulted in some good discussion. Masterton 008
Some people really enjoyed the book - thought it atmospheric; and opened up issues they hadn't thought of before like hidden Nazism. Others thought it a bit slow in the middle, and a formulaic plot that didn't live up to the comparison with Nesbo or Larssen. However it did stimulate a very wide-ranging discussion... Tauranga 009
A fabulous book! LOVED by all members. Great story-telling, and a gripping mystery. Mangaweka 001
Everyone loved the book. We had an interesting discussion about WW 2, Nazism and whether we would have 'followed the crowd' had we been in the same situation and reasons why we may have eg. family, children or elderly parents. Auckland 065
Some members who are avid Henning Mankell readers enjoyed the book, while others were more luke-warm about it. We agreed that the writing was excellent, but the plot was unlikely, and some of the characters inconsistent. One member who had been to that particular part of Sweden, gave us her personal impressions, and said the descriptions of the landscape and the climate were very accurate. Wellington 117
Enjoyed the thrill of the chase.
A heavy, dark, but interesting read stimulating much discussion, particularly around underground Nazi movements. Good depth of characterisation.
An enjoyable read, if disjointed. Sweden sounds a gloomy, tree laden land with an intensely private and parochial populace. An ideal place as the setting for a murder. Lots of themes - Nazism (past and present), how revenge corrupts, cancer and its own corruption.
This book was enjoyed by all the group. Members will look to read more by this author.
Enjoyable escapist read. Underwhelming in character development. We wondered about a certain disregard/disrespect for women. Most valuable in that it showed the political stresses of Sweden during the early 20th century, and those that are still persisting.
We found this book very disturbing. It provoked a great deal of discussion especially about Nazis, and the comparison with Trump, and the right wing underground surfacing in America.
Dark novel, well plotted and kept you engaged. Realistic characters.
Most of us loved this book, but some didn't persist past the slow initial chapters.
Good discussion of the perceived highs and lows of the book. Generally it was agreed that police investigations in an isolated rural area would be slow, with a number of starts, stops, and dead ends. A good example of the genre.
Most of the group enjoyed this book, finding it absolutely gripping. One or two didn't like it at all and didn't finish reading it. The murder at the start was particularly gruesome and we questioned whether that was necessary. Most found it disturbing as neo Nazism is ever present in today's world.
Some people really enjoyed it, but most found it not particularly gripping; clunky writing.
Who doesn't love a Swedish crime thriller! We all enjoyed this book - no nonsense writing, and with very real characters.
A mixed reception to this book. All agreed it needed a good edit, and the characters failed to connect. Perhaps a comparison with Stieg Larsson did not help!
Most of the group enjoyed this for different reasons. Unanimous view that it was well-written. Some members thought elements were contrived e.g. seems to strain credibility that a murderer would steal a RED car!! Also a dark page turner - compelling rather than enjoyable.
A great discussion about this read. We also felt the discussion questions were worthwhile.
A good easy read. Perhaps a bit long but the group enjoyed that it was narrated by both the detective and the murderer, so we saw the story from both points of view.
Everyone who read the book really enjoyed it. It has interesting characters and a compelling story. Intrigue, suspense, and history all rolled into one.
All enjoyed this book.
Gripping and drawn out murder mystery set in cold dark Scandinavia. If you've read anything else by Henning Mankell you will know the quality of his writing. If you like dark crime novels you'll be in here, if you don't then you'll be missing one of the masters of this genre.