the old Martin Beck series by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, which I enjoyed quite a bit in the '80s. Faceless Killers is the first of Mankell's series featuring the Swedish detective Kurt Wallander, and if there aren't too many surprises, mostly just the usual by-the-numbers police routines, it's still a nice night's read. The case: An old couple who live in an isolated rural location is brutally murdered—overkilled. Investigator Wallander working the case is amiably competent, for the most part, though his life is a big interesting mess. Hard to know how well he will wear over several novels but he's an interesting preliminary character study here, part pig and part Sherlock Holmes. He and his peers chase down the clues and leads and try to figure it all out. There's a wee bit of danger here and there along the way. The most interesting part, aside from the central mystery, is its treatment of the "immigrant problem" in Sweden at the time, the early '90s (a "problem" that could well be even worse now for all I know). Certainly all the most familiar strains of the issue are there—20 years later, in the United States, it feels a little prescient, most notably in the ugly, harsh, and violent response by nativists to the arrival of immigrants, with all their contradictory promises of cheap labor and perceived threat to "water down" the dominant culture. The tale doesn't have much to say beyond any of that, just notes the outlines and basic dynamics of the conflict as part of the context of the mystery. But it's a nice theme to find interwoven in. I am curious to see how these and some of the other themes here may or may not be developed across the larger series.
In case it's not at the library.