Henning Mankell is not afraid to use his books as viechles to make political statements. The Dogs of Riga was about drug running across the shattered borders of the former Soviet Union and here there is a SOuth African element.
But Mankell is also clever and does not introduce the political theme from the start preferring to grab you with a pulsating story about the dissapearance of an estate agent. The loveable woman who appeared to have no enemies goes out looking for a house to view but ends up knocking on the wrong door. She is then greeted at gun point by a mystery man. The story then shifts to the main character Kurt Wallander starting the search for a missing person. The search is going nowhere until they widen the geographical area and the house the esate agent last visited suddenly explodes, her car is found in a pond and eventually a petty thief stealing a water hose finds her body in a well.
Along with those dicsoveries there is also a black man’s finger, the butt of a South African pistol and some satellite equipment to add to the mystery. Part one ends with a murder, victim, location of crime but no apprent motive or hint at the identity of the killer.