The Troubled Man

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The Troubled Man
The Troubled Man Swedish cover.png
Leopard Förlag first edition cover, showing Wallander with his dog
Author Henning Mankell
Original title Den orolige mannen
Country Sweden
Language Swedish
Series Kurt Wallander #10
Genre Crime fiction
Publisher Leopard förlag
Publication date
18 August 2009
Published in English
February 2011
Media type print (hardback)
Pages 500
ISBN 978-91-7343-265-8
OCLC 436914592
Preceded by The Pyramid

The Troubled Man (Swedish: Den orolige mannen) is a crime fiction novel by Swedish author Henning Mankell, featuring police inspector Kurt Wallander. It is the 12th and final novel in the Wallander series.


A highly-decorated Swedish naval officer, Håkan von Enke, disappears during his daily walk. For Kurt Wallander this becomes a very personal case as Von Enke is Linda Wallander's father-in-law. The clues lead back in time to the Cold War and hired killers from Eastern Europe. Inspector Wallander suspects he has traced a big secret. This could be the worst spy scandal in Swedish history. At the same time, evidence suggests that Wallander is losing his memory.

Background and writing[edit]

Henning Mankell had originally planned to write no more Wallander stories after the publication of the short story collection The Pyramid (Pyramiden) in 1999. In 2002, he released Before the Frost (Innan frosten), a novel that shifted the focus of the stories to Wallander's daughter Linda, who joins the police force.[1] Mankell planned more novels focusing on Linda's police career but subsequently abandoned them after the death of Johanna Sällström, the actress who portrayed Linda in the Swedish Wallander TV series.[2] Several years passed before Mankell decided there was one more Kurt Wallander story to tell. The naval aspect of The Troubled Man plot was inspired by the submarine incursions into Swedish territorial waters that occurred between 1982 and 1983. Mankell considered these to be the worst scandals in Swedish political history.[1]

The pace of The Troubled Man is significantly slower than the previous Wallander stories, with several chapters between murders.[1]

The theme of the novel unofficially ties into Mankell's play Politik, which is set to debut at Stockholm City Theatre in Autumn 2010; the plot also concerns the Swedish submarine incidents in 1982. The play's main character is the late Swedish prime minister Olof Palme, who also is featured in this book.[3] Mankell got the idea for the play while he was working on The Troubled Man. The play will start on a submarine and then progress through time until after the assassination of Olof Palme. Mankell has stated that he hopes that Michael Nyqvist (best known for his role in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) will play the lead role.[4]

Publication history[edit]

The novel was published in Sweden on 18 August 2009. In the United Kingdom, Harvill Secker—who have published the British first editions of all the Wallander books—bought the rights to the translation in 2009. It will be published in February 2011 under the title The Troubled Man.[5]

Swedish publishers Leopard förlag printed a first edition run of 125,000 copies. They are planning an immediate second impression due to the significant advance orders.[1]


In Dagens Nyheter, Lotta Olsson wrote that some clues were unaccounted for at the end of the novel, and had "an annoying suspicion that Mankell started typing without really knowing where the story is heading". Of the writing, Olsson believed Mankell had a "restrained, factual" style, but felt that the narrative was being "told by a person with concentration elsewhere". Olsson concluded by stating that although the ending—of circumstances just "fading away"—might have reflected the aging Wallander's reality, it was "not sufficiently interesting to read about".[6]

In Sydsvenskan, Eva Ström had a higher appreciation for the writing style: "Mankell pilots the reader through the plot with a secure hand." Ström identified a theme of the novel as "What happens when memory starts to weaken?"[7] Both Olsson and Ström suspected that another Wallander story would follow The Troubled Man, despite Mankell's insistence to the contrary.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b c d Staff (11 August 2009). "Mankell på väg att lämna deckarna[permanent dead link]" (in Swedish). Ystads Allehanda (Skånemedia).
  2. ^ Mankell, Henning (2008). Who is Kurt Wallander? [Television broadcast]. BBC Four.
  3. ^ Staff (17 August 2009). "Palmepjäs av Mankell i Stockholm" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter (Bonnier AB).
  4. ^ Palme blir pjäs av Mankell - DN.SE
  5. ^ Page, Benedicte (24 July 2009). "Harvill Secker signs new Kurt Wallander title". Retrieved on 24 July 2009.
  6. ^ a b Olsson, Lotta (18 August 2009). "Bokrecensioner: Henning Mankell: 'Den orolige mannen'" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter.
  7. ^ a b Ström, Eva (18 August 2009). "Walander in i skuggan" (in Swedish). Sydsvenskan.