The whole situation is insane, he thought.
This collection consists of five short stories and novellas that have been arranged chronologically to trace Wallander's growth from rookie cop to seasoned detective. Any reader (or viewer of the BBC series) who has longed to know Wallander before he became a middle-aged divorced detective should The Pyramid a pretty eye-opening read.
- "Wallander's First Case"
Takes place in 1969, when Wallander is a young patrolman in Malmo, just beginning his relationship with Mona, the woman he will marry. One night, Wallander hears what sounds like a gunshot in his apartment building and, when he investigates, he finds a neighbor’s door ajar and a body on the floor. The death is ruled a suicide but Wallander isn’t convinced and he decides to investigate on his own time, acting against the rules of the police department, because it will also help him look like a successful detective-candidate ...
- "The Man with the Mask"
Christmas Eve 1975, Wallender's supervisor asks him it check out a grocery store on his way home. The old woman who owns the shop has called several times, reporting a strange individual outside her store. When Wallander arrives, the woman is dead and his is attacked by a desperate man. Wallander's only hope for rescue lies in his wife Mona. Eventually, she will become angry he has not come home from work and call the station looking for him ...
- "The Man on the Beach"
1987, Wallander is chief inspector in Ystad with a failing marriage. A local taxi driver picks up a fare who quietly dies in the back of his cab. An autopsy reveals the fare was poisoned earlier in the day. Wallander and his team learn that the victim had been staying in Ystad for the past week, traveling into Svarte by taxi each day to walk on the beach. It's quite a tangled story and the ending felt incomplete to me.
- "The Death of the Photographer"
It's 1988 and Wallander and Mona are separated. The body of a local portrait photographer is found in his studio. The victim seems like "regular guy" but Wallander refuses to believe that a normal man could be the victim of such a brutal attack. Eventually, it becomes clear there was more to the victim then met the eye ...
- "The Pyramid"
One night in December 1989, Wallander is called out to investigate the crash of a small unregistered plane. This plane, not appearing on radar as it flew into Swedish air space, appears to have been carrying a load of drugs. The crew is dead and there is not a lot of evidence to go on when Wallander called away to investigate arson and suspected murder at a local sewing shop. Why would anyone have anything against two dear old ladies? And why do they have such a big safe full of money? As Wallander tries to connect these cases, his father is arrested by the Cairo police while on holiday in Egypt! His crime? Trying to climb the Cheops pyramid!
The Pyramid & Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries written by Henning Mankell & translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg with Laurie Thompson (The New Press, 2008)