Return of the Dancing Master

Mankell, Henning. The Return of the Dancing Master. Read by Grover Gardner. Blackstone Audio, 2008.

I love the way Henning Mankell writes. There is something so dramatic about each and every word. A warning though, his scenes of violence are not for the faint of heart. Even if you have never been victim or even witness to a violent crime Mankell makes you feel right there in the moment. It’s as if the violence is happening to you. Very cringe-worthy material. Case in point – the brutal torture and murder of retired policeman Herbert Molin sets the stage for the Return of the Dancing Master. Stefan Lindman takes a medical leave of absence from his job as a police officer in order to battle mouth cancer. While in the waiting room of his doctor he reads about the murder of Molin. As a way to keep his mind off his illness Lindman decides to investigate Molin’s murder as Molin was once a colleague of sorts back in the day. Lindman finds himself getting deeper and deeper into the investigation when another man is murdered. As he comes to realize Molin was not the man he thought he knew, Lindman starts to question his own relationships.

Small disappointment – the crime scene of Molin’s murder is his house. Lindman breaks into the house after the real police assigned to the case have left. He is able to discover Molin’s diary wrapped in a raincoat which proves to be a vital clue. How did the real investigators miss that? There are other pieces of evidence that Lindman uncovers before anyone else, like the camping site of the killer. Again, how did the police miss that?

Postscript ~ the audio version is amazing. For starters, there is a whole cast of people reading the parts so women actually play women and so on. Also, at the end is a small piece of music so one can picture the dancing master taking a spin on the floor with a student. It’s a little eerie.

Reason read: July is the best time to visit Sweden.

Author fact: To learn more about Mankell go here.

Book trivia: Most of Mankell’s books include a character named Kurt Wallander. Mr. Wallander doesn’t make an appearance in The Return of the Dancing Master.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Swede(n), Isn’t It?” (p 232).

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