Arguably the greatest living Scandinavian crime writer, Mankell has been profoundly influential: He's written more than 40 books, 10 of which follow the career of Inspector Wallander – an iconically rumpled, irritable, and upright police detective in Ystad. (Wallander has been adapted for television both in Sweden and on the BBC, where he's played by Kenneth Branagh.) Mankell has long divided his time between Sweden and Africa, where he has headed the Teatro Avenida in Mozambique since 1986. "Mankell has in many ways been more important than Stieg Larsson in opening doors internationally for Scandinavian writers," says Nesbø. Literary and lucid, Mankell's books have an atmospheric intensity almost unmatched. In the standalone novel The Man From Beijing, a photographer arrives in a Swedish village to capture the old stone chimneys sweetly "sending smoke signals to one another" – and discovers that nearly the entire population has been brutally murdered.