In 1989 Henning Mankell returned to Sweden after an extended period in Africa. Upon his return in Sweden, Henning Mankell was astounded by the xenophobia he seemed to have started to grow in Swedish society and decided to write about it. Since racism, according to Mankell, is a crime he needed a police officer. After a few searches through the local phone book Mankell had found his inspector. Kurt Wallander was born.

In 1991, the first novel in the Wallander series, Faceless killers, was published in Sweden. Since then ten novels about the hard working inspector have been published and the last novel in the series, The Troubled Man, was published in Sweden in 2009. All in all, the Wallander novels have been translated into more than 40 languages and have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.