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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,868 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Henning Mankell Narrator: Rosalyn Landor Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2010 ISBN: 9780307712363
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The acclaimed author of the Kurt Wallander mysteries, writing at the height of his powers, now gives us an electrifying stand-alone global thriller.

January 2006. In the Swedish hamlet of Hesjvallen, nineteen people have been massacred. The only clue is a red ribbon found at the scene.

Judge Birgitta Roslin has particular reason to be shocked: Her grandparents, the Andrns, are among the victims, and Birgitta soon learns that an Andrn family in Nevada has also been murdered. She then discovers the nineteenth-century diary of an Andrn ancestor—a gang master on the American transcontinental railway—that describes brutal treatment of Chinese slave workers. The police insist that only a lunatic could have committed the Hesjvallen murders, but Birgitta is determined to uncover what she now suspects is a more complicated truth.

The investigation leads to the highest echelons of power in present-day Beijing, and to Zimbabwe and Mozambique. But the narrative also takes us back 150 years into the depths of the slave trade between China and the United States—a history that will ensnare Birgitta as she draws ever closer to solving the Hesjvallen murders.

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Quotes & Awards

  • There is no doubt that Mankell with this blockbuster of a thriller has written one of his best books . . . Suspense until the last page, audacious storytelling, and two female main characters presented with care and compassion. Dagsavisen (Norway)
  • Explosive. Leben & Glauben (Germany)
  • “It may not be flawless, but Henning Mankell’s The Man From Beijing is a great mystery that belongs in the company of other knockout masterpieces of moral complexity and atmosphere like Dorothy Sayers’ The Nine Tailors, Robert Goddard’s Beyond Recall, Barbara Vine’s A Dark-Adapted Eye, and Mankell’s own brilliant 2002 gloomfest, One Step Behind. The new novel’s ambitious plotting alone should be dissected and taught in MFA programs…a brilliant tale of suspense and substance that dedicated mystery readers will want to savor.”

    Washington Post

  • “Mankell humanizes the earnest, even meddlesome Roslin, so that the reader can't help but wish her well.”

    Library Journal

  • “A sweepingly ambitious tale of corruption, injustice, and revenge…Breathtakingly bold in its scope.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • This is hands down the best thriller I’ve read in five years. Grade: A . . . Complex and enormously satisfying. Entertainment Weekly
  • The book cements Mankell’s reputation as Sweden’s greatest living mystery writer . . . Roslin is a sort of Nordic Miss Marple. Los Angeles Times
  • Mankell succeeds in transfixing the reader with a masterly balance of character sketches and pell-mell storytelling. He is entirely convincing in his depiction of ordinary people becoming enmeshed in geopolitical intrigue. Wall Street Journal
  • Mankell’s new book is an original but still chock-a-block with gory crime combined with hints of the late Stieg Larsson’s social concern and John le Carré’s international intrigue. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • A must-read for anyone interested in the international crime novel. Booklist
  • Over the past decade or so, Henning Mankell has built a large audience that, even now, in the (mostly) snowless U.S., can’t wait to find copies of his new snowbound work of mystery. The Man from Beijing more than repays such patience. It’s a terrific police procedural . . . Despite the broad reach of the plot, the book never puts the reader in danger of losing interest. Alan Cheuse, Dallas Morning News 
       
  • The Man from Beijing, though not a Wallander novel, is the equal to any in that series. It’s the work of a writer with the imagination, brains, resources, and joinerly craft needed to make thoughtful, challenging, exciting, artistic novels . . . Remarkable. Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Scandinavian crime writing has seldom shouldered the burdens of world history with such upfront ambition. Independent (UK)
  • Breathtakingly bold in its scope. Kirkus Reviews
  • Gripping . . . It is the disruption, the threat and the delicious chill of fear, all safely contained, that is the pleasure of this book. Observer (UK) 
  • With this overwhelming thriller, Mankell has perhaps presented us with his best book ever. Westdeutsche Allgemeine (Germany)
  • Mankell’s best thriller in fifteen years. Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden)
  • A fantastic book . . . The book of the year so far . . . Whether you read it as a suspense novel, a thriller, or as commentary on the world of today with roots more than 150 years back, it is fascinating. Kulturspeilet (Norway)
     
    “[The Man from Beijing] conquers the world.
  • Mankell shows us once again that he is the absolute master of his class. Kulturbase (Germany)
  • Selected for the March 2010 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doreen | 2/19/2014

    " Who would have thought a Swedish Murder Mystery would involve Chinese Geo-politics. And excellent read that will keep you spell bound. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betty | 2/17/2014

    " I could hardly put this book down from start to finish! It included mystery, suspense, historical fiction,and great characters. I gave it 4 stars, but it was more like 4+. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Losososdiane | 2/16/2014

    " I was not impressed at all despite the hype this novel has received. I did not care at all about the characters or their fates. Actually, I thought the judge was something of a fool and her actions did not ring true at all. I could not get a handle on any of the other characters. They seemed cartoonish. The initial scene with the wolf was riveting but, to be brutally honest, I thought this book was a waste of time. I've read one or two of the Wallander books and quite enjoyed them. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nicole Sohl | 2/9/2014

    " I really tried to give this a decent chance but 150 pages in it went from bad to terrible. I had to just put it down finally. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Harriet | 2/8/2014

    " It was a thoroughly gripping tho sometimes ugly mystery "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brigham | 2/3/2014

    " I was interested in exploring other murder mysteries from Sweeden. While this writer does a better job at creating a story than Steig Larson, it just wasn't as compelling. I think I'm cured of my Sweedish-perverse-mass-murder fiction compulsion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mara | 1/29/2014

    " Mi sono piaciute moltissimo tutte le figure femminili del romanzo; non credo si possa amare Mankell senza apprezzare tutta la carica di denuncia che scorre nei suoi libri. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie | 1/26/2014

    " Complex story of how the Chinese helped in the 1800's building railroads in US, and how that impacts life today in different countries and locations, and how one person,(a female judge) unravels the mystery. H. Mankell is a Swedish writer who has written many mysteries which have been turned into TV movies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn | 1/10/2014

    " This is not a Kurt Wallendar story, but equally as dark and engrossing. Don't know what it is about these Swedish authors, but I am captivated by their writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom Armstrong | 1/3/2014

    " a good mystery, but nothing spectacular "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lida | 12/30/2013

    " Grisly, gripping tale, but also a political polemic. It is clear how Mankell feels about the future of China. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Maddie | 12/29/2013

    " A gripping start that sucks you right in, and then not much happens that feels connected to the central mystery for the rest of the book, and the explanation for a series of mass murders just falls flat. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia | 12/24/2013

    " I listened to the Audible version of this book and found it absolutely fascinating. The author takes us on a journey from present day to the 19th century and all over the globe. It's a murder mystery with a touch of history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kalpana | 12/14/2013

    " It was a bit longer but interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tal | 12/13/2013

    " Interesting book but I didn't feel that it tied up the loose ends very well at the end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chelsea Heath | 12/8/2013

    " I really enjoyed about the first half of the book. When it went into current political China I lost a lot of interest and never regained it. It was alright. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruth | 11/21/2013

    " Mystery aside, one of the fascinating themes in this book to me was the developmental and political tensions portrayed in China moving into the future as a world power. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leah Adams | 9/8/2013

    " It is not my favorite Henning Mankell book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ken | 5/23/2013

    " I can't recommend it. It needed tighter editing and the story was awkwardly put together. Not typical of Mankell. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 3/18/2013

    " A mystery novel written by a Swedish writer. Both an exciting thriller and a commentary on globalization. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mary | 2/21/2013

    " Rather thin and obvious. A disappointment, as I was expecting a challenging and engaging read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan Cobb | 12/24/2012

    " This started out as a great murder mystery, but gets complicated in an unconvincing way. The writing is good and the story is interesting, but it was like two separate stories mashed together. Still good, but not great. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alison | 11/12/2012

    " Not my favorite. I expected more from Sweden's top mystery writer. Skip it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 6/27/2012

    " Thoroughly enjoyable. Made me think a lot about points of view, especially about colonialism. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 5/27/2012

    " switches narrators, tough for the reader to hang with it. Wide ranging "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Becca | 3/18/2012

    " Really engrossing in the beginning and then peters out to a regular good mystery novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marty | 2/13/2012

    " Again really good intricate story.....twists and turns throughout. A good who did it and how! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin Kilkenny | 2/12/2012

    " Good book. Good intelligent ending, not some stupid unbelievable heroine becomes superwoman ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marik Casmon | 8/21/2011

    " Good international thriller. Interesting characters and historical information. Revenge and class division are themes. Set in China, Scandinavia, Africa, and the US. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 5/23/2011

    " Wonderful historical fiction that intertwines Chinese, American and Swedish mystery, intrigue, and international politics. A family saga that covers several generations. Best if listened to since it is a Swedish novel with Chinese characters and therefore many names/places are unpronounceable. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Catherine | 5/19/2011

    " A rambling, disconnected commentary on globalization disquised as a mystery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles | 5/15/2011

    " Compelling read; a good story and all kinds of fascinating background themes (tensions in Swedish society, split between Maoists and free-enterprisers in China, Chinese move into Africa,etc) -- moves from Stockholm to Copenhagen to Beijing to Harare. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Judy | 5/14/2011

    " The story was farfetched with several loose ends. The plot suffered at the expense of the author's expression of social issues. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Justin | 5/5/2011

    " A bit stupid regarding the plot and the behavior of the protagonist, but I find Mankell's writing style very effective and compelling. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joel | 5/3/2011

    " Just okay. Had to make myself finish it. Not for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 5/1/2011

    " Very different from the Kurt Wallander Series, and an unusual (and unlikely!) One or two parts got a little tedious, when he was going into detail about Chinese history. Other parts on the other hand moved very quickly, and the author was able to build a lot of suspense-- so... up and down! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Evelyn | 4/30/2011

    " The book has a really interesting premise, and a strong start, but unfortunately could have been much, much better. Poorly constructed, and downright disappointing. 'Nuff said... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Fred | 4/28/2011

    " It's a rare author who can rhapsodize about the wonders of Mao's cultural revolution and sing the praises of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, all in one book, all the while plodding along with a discordant narrative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia | 4/27/2011

    " I listened to the Audible version of this book and found it absolutely fascinating. The author takes us on a journey from present day to the 19th century and all over the globe. It's a murder mystery with a touch of history. "

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About the Author
Author Henning Mankell

Henning Mankell (1948–2015) was Sweden’s most-read author worldwide. His novels, which include the bestselling Kurt Wallander mysteries, have been translated into thirty-seven languages with more than thirty million copies in print worldwide. He has received the Crime Writers’ Association’s Macallan Gold Dagger and the German Tolerance Prize and has been a three-time finalist for the Los Angeles Times Mystery/Thriller Book Prize. He divided his time between Sweden and Mozambique, where he worked as a director at Teatro Avenida.

About the Narrator

Rosalyn Landor has won eight AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the Audie Award. She has worked as an actor since the age of seven, both in Europe and the United States. Her extensive list of credits includes leading roles in film, theater, and audio productions, as well as in various miniseries on all the major television networks and in such productions as Masterpiece Theatre’s Sherlock Holmes and Rumpole of the Bailey.