The ways in which the progressive mind responds to realities that challenge its most profound beliefs provide an enduring source of fascination. One response is to lay claim to the ownership of an alternative “truth” that departs in significant respects from the world perceived by others, an approach also popular with public relations executives and dissident members of the British royal family. Henning Mankell (1948–2015), the initiator of the trend for “Nordic noir” and the creator of the fictional detective Kurt Wallander, followed a rather more unusual approach. The most successful Swedish writer since Strindberg, during his lifetime Mankell sold forty million books and was translated into thirty-five languages. In addition to the thirteen Wallander thrillers, he wrote novels, children’s stories, and plays, while also founding a publishing company and working in the theater....


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