Having read about Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander books in Bruce Tierney’s Whodunit? column—Mankell has even won the “coveted” BookPage Tip of the Ice Pick Award—and being a longtime fan of PBS' Masterpiece Mystery! series, I’m pretty excited about the premiere of Wallander this Sunday, with two more episodes airing May 17 and 31. Read on for a mini review—and a chance to win three of the Wallander books.
I started watching the first, “Sidetracked,” last night and, so far, I’m really enjoying it. With a couple of days’ stubble, a bit of paunch and a generally disheveled appearance, Kenneth Branagh fits the description of the somewhat obsessive, sleep-deprived and often impatient police detective.
Wallander is stylish and modern and moves at a restrained pace—peppered with bursts of action and some really incredible edits—mirroring the title character’s methodical progress. OK, so you might have a hard time determining that you’re watching something set in Sweden (as opposed to somewhere in the British Isles), but the occasional splash of Swedish on a newspaper, a reference to the assassinated prime minister, shots of vodka bottles, and lots clean Scandinavian design help remind you.
To be honest, I couldn’t tell you how Wallander the series compares to the books, because though I love relaxing with a good mystery, I prefer watching mysteries to reading them (hey, I read all day; my eyes deserve a break in the evening). But I did enjoy watching “Sidetracked”—for the story, the suspense, and the familiar faces.
Anyway, I’ll leave comparisons to you. For a chance to win copies of Sidetracked, Firewall and One Step Beyond (the three books behind the three episodes), leave a comment by May 13 mentioning your favorite fictional sleuth/detective who’s been adapted for the big or small screen or who’d you’d like to see adapted.