Henning Mankell’s Faceless Killers made detective Wallander a household name and catapulted Nordic noir into the mainstream. The first ever illustrated edition, with an introduction by Patti Smith, is a must-have for fans of the genre.
‘An exquisite novel of mesmerizing depth and suspense.’
Los Angeles Times
A gruesome murder in a remote farmhouse; a detective with a long list of personal demons; and the bleak backdrop of a harsh Swedish winter: add Henning Mankell’s explosive prose and you have the novel that brought Nordic noir to the attention of crime-fiction fans worldwide. The first book in Mankell’s best-selling ‘Wallander’ series, Faceless Killers is a page-turning thriller of the highest order, as well as a frank snapshot of Sweden’s political and social landscape in the 1990s. Patti Smith’s original introduction is reproduced in English for the first time in this edition, to accompany Steven T. Murray’s translation, while award-winning illustrator Morgan Schweitzer elevates the tension with a series of atmospheric illustrations that culminates in the stark binding design, encased in an eye-catching die-cut slipcase.
Bound in blocked and printed textured paper
Set in Garamond with Avenir as display
Frontispiece and 4 full-page colour illustrations, including a double-page spread
Black & white map
9˝ x 5¾˝
‘Mankell is one of the most ingenious crime writers around.’
With more than 30 million copies sold and three screen adaptions – including the BAFTA-winning BBC series – Henning Mankell’s Wallander is one of the most successful modern crime-fiction creations … and it all began with Faceless Killers. For the first-ever illustrated edition, Folio commissioned American illustrator Morgan Schweitzer, whose graphic artwork perfectly matches the astonishing pace and tension of the novel. Meanwhile, a newly commissioned map by Neil Gower helps to contextualise the fast-moving investigation. Patti Smith’s 2016 introduction, which appears in Swedish editions of the work, is so beautifully crafted that is has been repurposed for our English-language edition. After stumbling upon the novel at an airport, Smith felt drawn to both the protagonist and the author, and her heartfelt introduction describes her fortuitous introduction to the series and her subsequent friendship with Mankell.
When Patti Smith writes: ‘I felt a kinship with this slightly alcoholic, melancholic police detective’ in her introduction, she speaks of Mankell’s skilful crafting of his empathetic protagonist. Recently and reluctantly separated from his wife and daughter, Kurt Wallander loses himself in whisky and opera, snatching fitful hours of sleep and guilt-ridden fast food while working this perplexing and shocking case: an elderly farmer tortured to death; his wife barely alive by his side. The culprit proves elusive but the pace is electric. Mankell peels away Wallander’s layers; the decay of his private life starkly contrasting with his dogged determination to solve the crime. The rugged, windswept region of Skåne weaves itself inextricably into a novel that not only launched an addictive new crime-fiction sub-genre, but also addressed Sweden’s demons: the rise of the far-right, the vilification of refugees and police antipathy. More than 30 years after publication, the success of the genre shows no sign of waning, and the issues raised are equally pertinent across Europe, and beyond.
Henning Mankell (1948–2015) was a Swedish novelist best known for his ‘Wallander’ series of crime fiction published between 1991 and 2009; he also wrote plays, fiction for children and screenplays for film and TV. In total his books have sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and won numerous prizes, including the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger and the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award (for Faceless Killers). As a young man Mankell worked as a merchant seaman and spent time writing in Paris and working in the theatre in Stockholm. In later life he divided his time between Sweden and Africa: having lived in Zambia and elsewhere on the continent, he founded and ran a theatre in Mozambique, and many of his novels feature African settings.
Steven T. Murray (1943–2018) translated numerous works of Scandinavian and German literature into English, most notably the ‘Millennium’ trilogy by Stieg Larsson as well as Swedish crime fiction by Henning Mankell, Camilla Läckberg and Karin Alvtegen: he was an important contributor to the success of ‘Nordic noir’ in the English-speaking world. Murray was born in Berkeley, studied at Stanford and California State Universities, and spent periods teaching and studying in both Germany and Denmark. He was also publisher and editor-in-chief at Fjord Press, which specialised in literary translations from northern Europe.
Patti Smith is a writer, performer and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary mergence of poetry and rock. Her seminal album Horses (1975) has been hailed as one of the top albums of all time. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Smith’s books include Witt (1973), Babe (1978), The Coral Sea (1996), Woolgathering (1992), Auguries of Innocence (2005) and three books of memoirs, the National Book Award-wining Just Kids (2010), chronicling her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe, M Train (2015) and The Year of the Monkey (2019). Patti has introduced the Folio editions of Wuthering Heights (2014), De Profundis (2020) and Faceless Killers (2023).
Morgan Schweitzer is a designer and illustrator based in Los Angeles, where he is senior art director at the creative company BUCK. Schweitzer grew up in the Boston area and began his career in New York before moving to California. His work has been published by New York magazine, The Village Voice, Scientific American, Penguin Random House and many other clients.
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