The British View of Wallander Country
Ystad is a charming, sleepy town and the real mystery is how the cooking can be of such high class. That is the picture portrayed in the British press.
Ystadsallehanda, 28 November 2008
Before the premier on BBC 1 tomororrow [sic] of the first film with Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander, British journalists have visited Ystad in Österlen. Sightseeing in Ystad in the footsteps of inspector Wallander has led to several articles and tourists tips in the British press.
Ystad, a picturesque town on the wind-blown Baltic coast, remains however somewhat of a mystery to the visiting journalists. Is everything as idyllic as it seems? And how can Henning Mankell make up such a lot of horrors in this charming little pearl of a town with its cobbled streets and timber frame houses?
The British hacks don't have to answer that question.
Evil in the midst of the idyllic spot Wallander is to Ystad what Inspector Morse is to Oxford. Parallels to the 'Midsomer Murders' are there too. It is of course an often used approach, that of portaying evil in the midst of idyllic surroundings.
It is entertaining to read how The Times' Ed Potton with the usual British elegance reflects on the fact that the doors in Ystad open outwards. A member of the British film team asked a Swedish colleague how on earth the Swedish police tackle the problem of battering down a door. "We usually knock first", was the answer.
Otherwise the British journalists found their way quite nicely around Wallander-land. They visited Fridolf's café, Hotell Continental and of course Mariagatan (The Baker Street of Ystad). They also visited the Ystad Studios and were impressed.
They went on to visit Ales stenar which of course is compared to Stonehenge.
The Telegraph's Max Davidson doesn't think that the stone ship at Kåseberga is as impressive as the English monument - but he relished the lovely view. He advises his readers to choose Ystad if the've never been to Sweden. "There is no better place to start". And after Ystad he recommends a visit to Malmö. You could say that Ystad offers the Turning Torso some tourist publicity.
The Guardian's Cathi Unsworth remains in Ystad and is disappointed when she visits Bröderna M (formerly Foffos pizzeria) where Wallander often sits. She had expected a run-down place and instead walks into a "state of the arts bistro".
Several of the visiting journalists note that the number of murders in Mankell's Ystad way exceed reality. Nowadays arson is however much more common than murder, and it is probably lucky for Ystad that the wave of early morning arson didn't happen just when the British press were over here.