Henning Mankell, the Swedish author who thrilled readers and viewers with his “Wallander” novels and TV series, died Monday morning in Göteborg (Gothenburg), Sweden. He was 67.
One of the shining lights of Nordic noir, Henning Mankell died of cancer. He is survived by his wife Eva Bergman and son Jon Mankell.
Like many of the bestselling and award-winning author’s fans, Mankell holds a special place for me, as his “Wallander” mystery novels were some of the first, if not the first, Nordic noir stories I read.
Back then, I had no idea that Swedish broadcaster SVT had begun adapting Mankell’s works into the movies starring Rolf Lassgärd. It was only after I watched the British TV series starring Kenneth Branagh on PBS that I even thought about looking for a Swedish TV series, which I found and discovered starred Krister Henriksson.
Since then, I’ve watched every episode of both television series several times over; ditto as many of Lassgärd’s “Wallander” films as I’ve been able to get my hands on.
While I’ve read the entire “Wallander” canon, I can’t say that I’ve read any of Mankell’s other titles, even though I’ve watched the adaptations, such as the German-language miniseries Kennedy’s Brain (which costars Lassgärd) and the feature film The Man from Beijing. (Maybe it’s just me, but now I feel guilty that I haven’t read his other works, so guess which books I’m adding to my to-read list.)
And it wasn’t until after I started this blog and began researching shows that I discovered Mankell also wrote screenplays, such as the one he co-wrote with fellow Swedish author Jan Guillou for the miniseries Talisman, which screened on MHz Networks this past spring. (Both men have cameos in the drama, too, playing themselves.)
So, here I am, two days after Mankell’s death, feeling ever-so sad about the loss of such a talent. I’d never met him, but I didn’t have to to know that his stories opened up a whole new world for me and gave me much to think about while losing myself in the world of Kurt Wallander. And even though I learned he was sick the same way countless others did, in a newspaper article published in January of last year, I thought he’d be with us longer.
Rest in peace, Henning Mankell.