‘Vad är det för värld vi lever i?’ - Henning Mankells Konzept des gesellschaftskritischen Kriminalromans


  • Harald Müller


The Wallander-series by Henning Mankell has been selling extremely well all over Europe for about a decade. Although literature criticists certify only an average standard to his detective stories, he manages to break up the established borders between a detective novel and a thriller and to develop further the detective story as a social critic, which Sjöwall and Wahlöö introduced in the early 1970ies. Even if one of the remarkable features of Mankell’s murders is the extremely high degree of cruelty, the consciousness of the highly successful unifying figure Kurt Wallander conveys a stigma of brutality. This violence is not produced by the society but becomes its most important feature. Mankell updates the social criticism raised by Sjöwall and Wahlöö, keeps alive the readership’s awareness for social problems, and makes it susceptible for more complex social mechanisms, but takes away the responsibility for degenerative development from the collective.