CANNES — Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell, who was a leading figure in the wave of “Nordic Noir” fiction and whose books sold more than 40 million copies, died in Goteborg, Sweden, on Monday at the age of 67. He is best known for his novels featuring Inspector Kurt Wallander, which were turned into a TV drama series starring Kenneth Branagh.
The original Swedish-language “Wallander” series, which starred Krister Henriksson in the lead role, ran from 2005 to 2013, and was screened by multiple international broadcasters, including the BBC in the U.K. The English-language production, starring Branagh, has run since 2008, with four seasons produced so far. The series, which was produced by Left Bank Pictures and Yellow Bird, aired on PBS in the U.S. and the BBC in the U.K., as well as numerous leading broadcasters around the world. Netflix carries the show now in the U.S.
Both series featured grisly crimes committed in idyllic settings, with Wallander portrayed as a psychologically tortured, emotionally damaged brooding soul, dedicated to delivering justice for the dead victims.
Mankell was diagnosed with cancer, which he revealed in a newspaper column last year, stating: “My anxiety is very profound,” the BBC reported Monday. He wrote about the experience in his book “Quicksand: What It Means to Be a Human Being.”
His agent, Leopard Forlag, confirmed the death on Monday, stating, “He passed away quietly last night in the wake of disease.” Mankell, who wrote around 40 novels and numerous plays, leaves his wife, the director Eva Bergman, and his son Jon Mankell.
In a statement, Branagh said: “In life and in art Henning Mankell was a man of passionate commitment. I will miss his provocative intelligence and his great personal generosity. Aside from his stringent political activism, and his decades of work in Africa, he also leaves an immense contribution to Scandinavian literature. His loving family, and those privileged to know him, together with readers from all over the world, will mourn a fine writer and a fine man.”
Andy Harries, chief executive of Left Bank Pictures and executive producer of “Wallander,” said: “It was a tremendous privilege to know Henning and to bring ‘Wallander’ to life in the English language for the BBC and Masterpiece. The final three films will serve to honor his brilliant work as a novelist and his passion for encouraging justice, equality and decency wherever he went.”