The White Lioness

The White Lioness

First edition (Swedish)
Author Henning Mankell
Original title Den vita lejoninnan
Translator Laurie Thompson
Country Sweden
Language Swedish
Series Kurt Wallander #3
Genre Crime novel
Publisher Ordfront
Publication date
Published in English
October 1998
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
Pages 372 pp (Eng. hardback trans.)
ISBN 1-86046-780-6 (Eng. trans.)
OCLC 43418392
Preceded by The Dogs of Riga
Followed by The Man Who Smiled

The White Lioness (Original: Den vita lejoninnan) is a crime novel by Swedish writer Henning Mankell, the third in the Inspector Wallander series.


The story itself takes place in 1992. The plot follows two parallel patterns, one during late apartheid South Africa where incumbent president F.W. de Klerk, leader of the Afrikaner minority which is on the brink of losing power to the African majority under the leadership of the ANC, about to end 44 years of suppression by the Broederbond rule. Simultaneously, Detective Chief Inspector Kurt Wallander is investigating a case of a missing female Methodist real-estate agent outside Ystad. Upon the eventual recovery of her body, as well as the discovery of a severed black finger at the crime scene, Detective Chief Inspector Wallander realizes the case has deep roots in the history and current development in South Africa, where it appears that an extremist cell of the Broederbond is about to orchestrate the murder of F W de Klerk by an infamous black assassin, wishing to plunge the country into a long and devastating civil war.


Mankell, who himself was deeply interested in questions concerning South Africa and its history and who used to reside in the country part-time, released the book in 1993 during the reign of the National Party and the Afrikaner rule.


In 1996, The White Lioness was adapted by Swedish public broadcaster Sveriges Television into a theatrical movie, starring Rolf Lassgård as Wallander.

In 2016, The White Lioness was adapted by the BBC starring Kenneth Branagh as Wallander.

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