Monday, December 17, 2007

The White Lioness - post III

There is no way of writing this without sounding like a snob but one of the books that I have always avoided has been the cheap airport novel. They tend to get chosen without much thought, after all the flight is usually waiting, and then get consumed quickly and are forgotten just as fast. The mistake with Henning Mankell might have been that just because Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo wrote a crime novel so intelligently that the same standard would be replicated elsewhere.

No doubt some people would have no problem with this stuff but it seems a waste of time that could have been spent reading something else.

Where I have a problem is that this is just too fantastical. The story centres on the conspiracy a bunch of white fundamentalists have to kill Mandela. Sweden comes into the equation because it is seen as a far away enough place to be a training ground to prepare the killer. The first assassin is the one who loses a finger while his KGB trainer flips out and shoots an estate agent. That is the reason why Wallander gets involved. But as the story drifts between the conspiracy in South Africa and the events in the ground in Sweden you start to lose faith in it all slightly. Just as with Dogs of Riga this is the stuff of fancy, or at least it feels like it. For me personally that is undermining the experience of reading this thriller.

As the Murder in the Rue Morgue showed the story might sound unbelievable but if the description and the explanation is credible enough then the reader will go along with it. More of those feelings would help here.

More tomorrow…

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