Then he stood up, checked in the phone book, and dialed a number. The person he was calling was an early riser.


Wallander resisted an urge to put the receiver down. “It’s me, Kurt,” he said. “I hope I didn’t wake you up.”

There was a long silence before Martinsson responded. “Is it really you?” he said. “Now there’s a surprise!”

“I can imagine,” Wallander said. “But there is something I need to ask you.”

“It can’t be true that you’re quitting.”

“That’s the way it goes,” Wallander said. “But that’s not why I’m calling. I want to know what happened to Sten Torstensson, the lawyer.”

“Haven’t you heard?”

“I only got back to Ystad yesterday. I haven’t heard anything.”

There was a pause. “He was murdered,” Martinsson said at last.

Wallander was not surprised. The moment he had seen the obituary in the paper, he had known it was not death by natural causes.

“He was shot in his office last Tuesday night,” Martinsson said. “It’s beyond belief. And tragic. It’s only a few weeks since his father was killed in a car accident. But maybe you didn’t know that either?”

“No,” Wallander lied.

“You’ve got to come back to work,” Martinsson said. “We need you to figure this out. And much more besides.”

Magnus Martinsson to Kurt Wallander from The Man Who Smiled, Chapter 2 by Henning Mankell.

At 2 p.m. he rang Martinsson’s bell, and they went and sat in the kitchen. Martinsson was home alone. Wallander asked about Terese. She had gone back to school. Martinsson looked pale and dejected. Wallander had never seen him so depressed.

“What should I do?” Martinsson asked.

“What does your wife say? What does Terese say?”

“That I should keep working, of course. They’re not the ones who want me to quit. I’m the one.”

Wallander waited. But Martinsson didn’t say anything.

“Remember a few years back?” Wallander began. “When I shot a man in the fog near Kåseberga and killed him? And then ran over another one on the Öland Bridge? I was gone almost a year. All of you thought I had quit. Then there was that case with the two lawyers named Torstensson, and suddenly everything changed. I was about to sign my letter of resignation, but instead I went back on duty.”

Martinsson nodded. He remembered.

“Now, after the fact, I’m glad I did what I did. The only advice I can give you is that you shouldn’t do anything rash. Wait to make up your mind. Work one day at a time. Decide later. I’m not asking you to forget, I’m asking you to be patient. Everyone misses you. You’re a good policeman. Everyone notices when you’re not there.”

Kurt Wallander to Magnus Martinsson from The Fifth Woman, Chapter 32 by Henning Mankell.

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