I have read all of the Wallender books. It’s hard to describe what appeals to me so much about Mankell’s work. The dialogue is often ponderous (translation problem?) and the exposition can be the same. Still, he weaves world. And there’s something useful about stepping outside of a series. Any character can die. I like the moral ambiguities in this one. It takes a lot to defend both Mao and Mugabe in one book, yet Mankell manages. His female characters are genuine and the suspense is ever present. His plots are challenging and intelligent. What is the new China going to look like? What is its relationship with Africa? This book was hard to put down.