An Event in autumn at 149 pages, has the feel of a novella rather than a novel. Featuring Mankell’s iconic Kurt Wallander, the book was first written om Swedish in 2004 and was translated to English only in 2013 when the BBC chose it for a dramatization with Kenneth Branaugh. The book is only now available in America. The book itself was dashed off as a freebie. It had been decided in Holland that for a certain period everyone who bought a crime novel would receive a free book. Mankell was approached and thought it a good idea.
Kurt Wallander in the story is aging and facing retirement. He dreams of a house in the countryside where he can roam with his dog and suddenly a colleague comes up with one, belonging to his wife’s cousin. Full of hope, as the price is right, Wallander visits the house – perfect – only to discover a corpse in a shallow grave in the garden. What happened? That is the conundrum with which Wallander is faced. He must delve into what may be an ancient murder in which most of the players are very elderly or dead.
As always, Kurt Wallander fans will love this book, and it is consistent with the other Wallander books. It does have a feeling of many loose ends not wrapped up though, which is why I suggest he may have dashed it off. This book was a prequel to The Troubled Man, the last Wallander novel in the series of 14 books. Not as good as the other Wallander stories but it is, after all, Wallander, and it is still a pretty good read. And there is a bonus. The author, at the end of the book, describes the genesis of Wallander, his development and denouement. That in itself is worth the price of the book.
An Event in Autumn is published by Vintage Canada, a division of Random House