Day 44: The Dogs of Riga

Cover for The Dogs of RigaHenning Mankell was my introduction to Swedish crime fiction. I usually enjoy his mysteries, but have not really liked his “more serious” novels. The Dogs of Riga is another of his mysteries featuring Inspector Kurt Wallender.

In a novel set earlier in time than his previous mysteries, Wallender travels to Latvia in the days before the dissolution of the Soviet Union to discover why Major Liepa, a Latvian police inspector who has been working on a case with him, is murdered as soon as he returns home. Wallender is bewildered by the politics and workings of the deeply depressed country. He soon figures out that the person arrested for the murder is innocent.

Wallender responds to the pleas for help by Liepa’s widow, Baipa Liepa, to continue his investigation further than the Latvian officials want him to. He encounters widespread governmental corruption and the realities of living in this grim regime. Readers of Mankell’s books have heard of Baipa Liepa, because she is the woman he loves in books that take place in a later timeframe.

Wallender is his usual depressed self, eating bad food and getting little sleep. The setting of urban Riga, though, is much more dark than Mankell’s usual setting of rural Sweden.

I enjoyed the book, although I thought that Wallender seemed strikingly naive at times. Mankell’s writing is sometimes a little awkward, although it is usually spare and transparent.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.