Review: The Man From Beijing (Henning Mankell)

Henning Mankell - The Man from BeijingGoodreads Summary: January 2006. In the Swedish hamlet of Hesjövallen, 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 Andréns, are among the victims. The police insist that only a lunatic could have committed the murders. But when Birgitta discovers the diary of another Andrén—a gang master on the American transcontinental railway in the nineteenth century—that describes the cruel treatment of Chinese slave-workers, she is determined to uncover what she suspects is a more complicated truth.

The investigation leads to modern-day Beijing and its highest echelons of power, to Zimbabwe and Mozambique. But the narrative also takes us back 150 years, into a history that will ensnare Birgitta as she draws ever closer to solving the Hesjövallen murders.

My Thoughts: I have not read that many Henning Mankell books yet but the ones I read were absolutely great and I always enjoyed reading them. The same happened with this book but for some reason I was not completely satisfied with it. On one hand, the story was good and interesting and it had parts during which I was not able to put down the book but on the other hand there were also times in which the story slowed down a bit and made it a bit harder for me to keep motivated to go on reading.

Once in a while, I had the impression that the different parts were not completely matching. Also, I think the story is a bit surreal. There were too many coincidences that brought up the real truth of the murders that happen in the beginning. For instance, it was a big coincidence that Brigitta suddenly decided to go to China with her friend. But what I think was the most surreal part was the fact that she actually thought she could find a guy in China only having a picture of him and without knowing anything about him.

I am not really sure what I am thinking about the book and that makes it hard to explain my thoughts about it. I really liked it because I absolutely love the writing style of Henning Mankell and on top of that I love crime stories. I think it just got a bit too dramatic in the wrong places and there were so many different things, people and stories involved and described that it was a bit hard for me see the full picture.

The story is very complex and the idea behind it is certainly great! The story goes back over a hundred years in time and talks about two very different cultures that got involved with each other in this whole story. Everything is linked back to the past which is explained in great detail.

Don‘t get me wrong! It is definitely worth a read! Especially for all Henning Mankell fans and maybe you like it as much or even more than his other stories but for me it was definitely not his best work. However, this is not going to stop me from reading his novels because I am sure I will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed the other books I‘ve read so far.

More about Henning Mankell and his books can be found here.

My Rating: ★★☆☆

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