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The Dogs of Riga: Kurt Wallander [Format Kindle]

Henning Mankell
4.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)

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It started snowing shortly after 10 a.m.

The man in the wheelhouse of the fishing boat cursed. He'd heard the forecast, but hoped they might make the Swedish coast before the storm hit. If he hadn't been held up at Hiddensee the night before, he'd have been within sight of Ystad by now and could have changed course a few degrees eastwards. As it was, there were still seven nautical miles to go and if the snow started coming down heavily, he'd be forced to heave to and wait until visibility improved.

He cursed again. It doesn't pay to be mean, he thought. I should have done what I'd meant to do last autumn, and bought a new radar. My old Decca can't be relied on any more. I should have got one of those new American models, but I was too mean. I didn't trust the East Germans, either. Didn't trust them not to cheat me.

He found it hard to grasp that there was no longer a country called East Germany, that a whole nation state had ceased to exist. History had tidied up its old borders overnight. Now there was just Germany, and nobody really knew what was going to happen when the two formerly separate peoples tried to work together. At first, when the Berlin wall came down, he had felt uneasy. Would the enormous changes mean the carpet would be pulled from under his feet? His East German partners had reassured him. Nothing would change in the foreseeable future. Indeed, this upheaval might even create new opportunities.

The snow was falling more heavily and the wind was veering towards the south-west. He lit a cigarette and poured coffee into the mug in the special holder next to the compass. The heat in the wheelhouse was making him sweat, and the smell of diesel oil was getting up his nose. He glanced towards the engine room. He could see one of Jakobson's feet on the narrow bunk down there, his big toe sticking out through a hole in his sock. Might as well let him sleep on, he thought. If we have to heave to, he can take over the watch while I get a few hours' rest. He took a sip of the lukewarm coffee, and thought again of what had happened the night before.

He'd been forced to wait in the dilapidated little harbour to the west of Hiddensee for over five hours before the lorry appeared, rattling through the darkness to collect the goods. Weber had insisted that the delay was due to his lorry breaking down, and that could well have been true. The lorry was an ancient, rebuilt Russian military vehicle, and the man had often been astonished that it was still running. There again, he didn't trust Weber. Weber had never cheated him, but he'd made up his mind once and for all that he was not be trusted. It was a precautionary measure. After all, the stuff he took to the East Germans was worth a lot. Each time, he took 20 or 30 computers, about 100 mobile phones and just as many car stereos--goods worth millions of kronor. If he got caught, he wouldn't be able to talk his way out of a long prison sentence. Nor would he be able to count on an ounce of help from Weber. In the world he lived in, everybody thought only about number one.

He checked the course on the compass, and adjusted it by two degrees to the north. The log indicated that he was holding to a steady eight knots. There were six and a half nautical miles to go before he would see the coast and turn towards Brantevik. The greyish-blue waves were still visible ahead, but the snow seemed to be getting heavier.

Five more trips, he thought, and that's it. I'll have made all the money I need and I'll be able to make my move. He lit another cigarette, smiling at the prospect. He would put all this behind him and set off on the journey to Porto Santos, where he'd open a bar. Soon, he'd no longer need to stand on watch in the leaky, draughty wheelhouse while Jakobson snored on his bunk down in the engine room. He couldn't be sure what his new life would hold, but he longed for it even so.

Abruptly as it had started, it stopped snowing. At first he didn't dare to believe his luck, but then it became clear that snowflakes were no longer swirling past his eyes. I might be able to make it after all, he thought. Maybe the storm is passing and heading towards Denmark?

Whistling, he poured himself some more coffee. The bag containing the money was hanging on the wall. Another 30,000 kronor closer to Porto Santos, the little island just off Madeira. Paradise was waiting.

He was just about to take another sip of coffee when he caught sight of the dinghy. If the weather hadn't lifted, he'd never have noticed it. There it was, though, bobbing up and down on the waves, just 50 metres to port. A red rubber life-raft. He wiped the condensation off the glass and peered out at the dinghy. It's empty, he thought. It's fallen off a ship. He turned the wheel and slowed right down. Jakobson, woken by the change in speed, stuck his unshaven face up into the wheelhouse.

"Are we there?" he asked.

"There's a life-raft to port," said the man at the wheel, whose name was Holmgren. "We'll have it. It's worth a thousand or two. Take the wheel and I'll get the boat-hook.

Jakobson moved over to the wheel while Holmgren pulled the flaps of his cap down over his ears and left the wheelhouse. The wind bit into his face and he clung to the rail. The dinghy came slowly nearer. He started to unfasten the boat-hook that was attached to the side of the wheelhouse. His fingers froze as he struggled with the catches, but eventually he released it and turned back to the water.

He gave a start. The dinghy was only a few metres away from the boat's hull, and he realised his mistake. There were two people inside. Dead people. Jakobson shouted something unintelligible from the wheelhouse: he too had seen what was in the life-raft.

It wasn't the first time Holmgren had seen dead bodies. As a young man doing his military service, a gun had exploded on a manoeuvre, and four of his friends had been blown to bits. Later, during his many years as a professional fisherman, he had seen bodies washed up on beaches or floating in the water.

It struck Holmgren immediately that they were oddly dressed. The two men weren't fishermen or sailors--they were wearing suits. And they were hugging, as if they'd been trying to protect each other from the inevitable. He tried to imagine what had happened. Who could they be?

Jakobson emerged from the wheelhouse and stood by his side.

"Oh, shit!" he said. "Oh, shit! What are we going to do?"

Holmgren thought for a moment.

"Nothing," he said. "If we take them on board we'll only end up with difficult questions to answer. We haven't seen them, simple as that. It is snowing, after all."

"Shall we just let 'em drift?" Jakobson asked.

"Yes," Holmgren answered. "They're dead after all. There's nothing we can do. Besides, I don't want to have to explain where this boat has come from. Do you?"

Jakobson shook his head doubtfully. They stared at the two dead men in silence. Holmgren thought they looked young, hardly more than 30. Their faces were stiff and white. Holmgren shivered.

"Odd that there's no name on the life-raft," Jakobson said. "What ship can it have come from?"

Holmgren took the boat-hook and moved the dinghy round, looking at its sides. Jakobson was right: there was no name.

"What the hell can have happened?" he muttered. "Who are they? How long have they been adrift, wearing suits and ties?"

"How far is it to Ystad?" asked Jakobson.

"Just over six nautical miles."

"We could tow them a bit nearer the coast," said Jakobson, "so that they can drift ashore where they'll be found."

Holmgren thought again, weighing up the pros and cons. The idea of leaving them there was repugnant, he couldn't deny that. At the same time, towing the dinghy would be risky--they might be seen by a ferry or some other vessel.

He made up his mind quickly. He unfastened a painter, leant over the rail and tied it to the life-raft. Jakobson changed course for Ystad, and Holmgren secured the line when the dinghy was about ten metres behind the boat and free of its wake.

When the Swedish coast came into sight, Holmgren cut the rope and the life-raft with the two dead men inside disappeared far behind. Jakobson changed course to the east, and a few hours later they chugged into the harbour at Brantevik. Jakobson collected his pay, got into his Volvo and drove off towards Svarte.

The harbour was deserted. Holmgren locked the wheelhouse and spread a tarpaulin over the cargo hatch. He checked the hawsers slowly and methodically. Then he picked up the bag containing the money, walked over to his old Ford, and coaxed the reluctant engine to life.

Ordinarily he would have allowed himself to dream of Porto Santos, but today all he could picture in his mind's eye was the red life-raft. He tried to work out where it would eventually be washed up. The currents in that area were erratic, the wind gusted and shifted direction constantly. The dinghy could wash up anywhere along the coast. Even so, he guessed that it would be somewhere not far from Ystad, if it hadn't already been spotted by someone on one of the ferries to or from Poland.

It was already starting to get dark as he drove into Ystad. Two men wearing suits, he thought, as he stopped at a red light. In a life-raft. There was something that didn't add up. Something he'd seen without quite registering it. Just as the lights changed to green, he realised what it was. The two men weren't in the dinghy as a result of a ship going down. He couldn't prove it, but he was certain. The two men were already dead when they'd been placed in the dinghy.

On the spur of the moment, he turned right and stopped at one of the phone boxes opposite the bookshop in the square. He rehearsed what he was going to say carefully. Then he dialled 999 and asked for the police. As he waited for them to answer, he watched the snow begin to fall again through the dirty glass of the phone box.

It was February 12, 1991.


Inspector Kurt Wallander sat in his office at the police station in Ystad and yawned. It was such a huge yawn that one of the muscles under his chin locked. The pain was excruciating. Wallander punched at the underside of his jaw with his right hand to free the muscle. Just as he was doing so, Martinsson, one of the younger officers, walked in. He paused in the doorway, puzzled. Wallander continued to massage his jaw until the pain subsided. Martinsson turned to leave.

"Come on in," Wallander said. "Haven't you ever yawned so wide that your jaw muscles locked?"

Martinsson shook his head.

"No," he said. "I must admit I wondered what you were doing."

"Now you know," Wallander said. "What do you want?"

Martinsson made a face and sat down. He had a notebook in his hand.

"We received a strange phone call a few minutes ago," he said. "I thought I'd better check it with you."

"We get strange phone calls every day," Wallander said, wondering why he was being consulted.

"I don't know what to think," Martinsson said. "Some man called from a phone box. He claimed that a rubber life-raft containing two dead bodies would be washed up near here. He hung up without giving his name, or saying who'd been killed or why."

Wallander looked at him in surprise.

"Is that all?" he asked. "Who took the call?"

"I did," Martinsson said. "He said exactly what I've just told you. Somehow or other, he sounded convincing."


"You get to know after a while," Martinsson replied hesitantly. "Sometimes you can hear straight away that it's a hoax. This time whoever rang seemed very definite."

"Two dead men in a rubber life-raft that's going to be washed up on the coast near here?"

Martinsson nodded.

Wallander stifled another yawn and leaned back in his chair.

"Have we had any reports about a boat sinking or anything like that?" he asked.

"None at all," Martinsson replied.

"Inform all the other police districts along the coast," Wallander said. "Talk to the coastguards. But we can't start a search based on nothing more than an anonymous telephone call. We'll just have to wait and see what happens."

Martinsson nodded and stood up.

"I agree," he said. "We'll have to wait and see."

"It could get pretty hellish tonight," Wallander said, nodding towards the window. "Snow."

"I'm going home now anyway," Martinsson said, looking at his watch. "Snow or no snow."

Martinsson left, and Wallander stretched out in his chair. He could feel how tired he was. He'd been forced to answer emergency calls two nights in a row. The first night he'd led the hunt for a suspected rapist who'd barricaded himself in an empty summer cottage at Sandskogen. The man was drugged to the eyeballs and there was reason to think he could be armed, so they'd surrounded the place until 5 a.m., when he'd given himself up. The following night Wallander had been called out to a murder in the town centre. A birthday party had got out of hand, and the man whose birthday it was had been stabbed in the temple with a carving knife.

He got up from his chair and put on his fleece jacket. I've got to get some sleep, he thought. Somebody else can look after the snowstorm. When he left the station, the gusts of wind forced him to bend double. He unlocked his Peugeot and scrambled in. The snow that had settled on the windows gave him the feeling of being in a warm, cosy room. He started the engine, inserted a tape, and closed his eyes.

Immediately his thoughts turned to Rydberg. It was less than a month since his old friend and colleague had died of cancer. Wallander had known about the illness the year before, when they were struggling together to solve the murder of an old couple at Lenarp. During the last months of his life, when it was obvious to everybody and not least to Rydberg himself that the end was nigh, Wallander had tried to imagine going to the station knowing that Rydberg wouldn't be there. How would he manage without the advice and judgement of old Rydberg, who had so much experience? It was still too soon to answer that question. He hadn't had any difficult cases since Rydberg had gone on sick leave for the last time, and then passed away. But the sense of pain and loss was still very real.

From Publishers Weekly

Set against the chaotic backdrop of eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mankell's intense, accomplished mystery, the last in his Kurt Wallander series (Firewall, etc.), explores one man's struggle to find truth and justice in a society increasingly bereft of either. Here the provincial Swedish detective takes on a probably fruitless task: investigating the murders of two unidentified men washed up on the Swedish coast in an inflatable dinghy. The only clues: their dental work suggests they're from an Eastern Bloc country; the raft is Yugoslavian. But their deaths mushroom into an international incident that takes Wallander to Riga, Latvia, and enmeshes him in an incredibly dangerous and emotionally draining situation, battling forces far larger than the "bloodless burglaries and frauds" he typically pursues in Sweden. In Riga, Wallander must deal with widespread governmental corruption, which opens his eyes to the chilling reality of life in the totalitarian Eastern Bloc: grim, harrowing and volatile. Wallander's introspection and self-doubt make him compellingly real, and his efforts to find out what happened to those men on the life raft makes for riveting reading. There's a pervasive sense of Scandinavian gloom, in Wallander and in the novel, that might be difficult for some American readers, but this is a very worthy book-a unique combination of police procedural and spy thriller that also happens to be a devastating critique of Soviet-style Communism.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1882 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 338 pages
  • Editeur : Vintage Digital (4 septembre 2008)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0031RSBU0
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°9.301 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Né en Suède en 1948, Henning Mankell est considéré comme l'un des maîtres incontestés du roman policier suédois grâce à la série des Wallander, traduite en 35 langues et pour laquelle l'Académie suédoise lui a décerné le Grand Prix de littérature policière. Lauréat de nombreux prix littéraires dont le prix Mystère de la Critique, le prix Calibre 38, et le Trophée 813, il est l'auteur de romans sur l'Afrique ou des questions de société, de pièces de théâtre et d'ouvrages pour la jeunesse. Il partage aujourd'hui sa vie entre la Suède et le Mozambique.

Crédit photo : Lina Ikse

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Mankell en anglais 15 avril 2013
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Et bien c'est Henning Mankell,pour ceux qui le connaissent,et pourquoi en Anglais me direz vous puisqu'il écrit en Suédois? Traduction pour traduction...voici ma réponse 1/pour le même prix que la traduction française,en anglais c'est une version plus grande(je suis presbyte et c'est écrit moins petit) et brochée (non pas en poche)
2/et en anglais,je lis moins vite,donc le livre me dure plus longtemps...
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Ambiance du Europe du Nord 7 juillet 2014
Par J. Remi
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Mankell que voulez-vous c'est une ambiance ...
Et si vous aimer le genre "roman policier nordique" et bien vous aller adorer ...
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Perfect! 6 décembre 2015
Par Deborah K
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Book as described - perfect transaction. Very happy with the delivery, packaging and book. All perfect. Would recommend to others.
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0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 pas le meilleur 25 juillet 2010
Par Eric B
J'ai lu tous les mankel. Celui_ci (avec l'homme qui souriait) figure parmis les moins prenants. Il y a des folles poursuites, cela court dans tous les sens... mais difficile d'y croire et d'accrocher à ce livre
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Amazon.com: 3.8 étoiles sur 5  234 commentaires
99 internautes sur 104 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Frighteningly Real 29 mai 2003
Par Judith Lindenau - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
One of the previous reviewers mentioned that "Dogs of Riga" might be difficult for Americans because of its pervasive 'Scandinavian gloom'. True, I think, but what makes this novel even more unsettling is the thick, murky atmostphere of mistrust and suspicion depicted in the countries of Eastern
Europe in the early 1990's. It is difficult for Americans to empathize with the fear and suspicion of those times, which is the setting of this novel. The repressive and grim background is indeed the leading force in the novel: it is a force which still impacts life in much of the Eastern Bloc today, accompanied by suspicion and corruption.
Against that setting, then, the characters assume heroic proportions. The desire of Wallander to do his job well and bring closure to the deaths, the courage of Major Liepa to confront corruption, and the passion of Baiba Liepa to revenge the murder of her husband--all assume epic dimensions when viewed against the social backdrop. The plot is thickened by the lies, fear, and deceit by which even the ordinary citizen must survive. The labyrinth is constructed with masterful prose and an observant eye, hallmarks of Mankell's craft as a writer.
"Dogs of Riga" is a classic of the genre. More complex and better crafted than the typical police procedural, it is a 'must read' for the epicurean mystery reader.
28 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Wallander In Love 21 février 2006
Par Foster Corbin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
In THE DOGS OF RIGA-- both four-legged and two-legged--Inspector Kurt Wallander is back with another difficult crime to solve. Two dead men, dressed to the nines, wash ashore in Ystad in a life raft. As usual, initially there are practically no clues. This crime takes Wallander away from Sweden into Latvia, a place he finds colder-- if that's possible-- than his homeland. He warms up, of course, when he falls in love with the widow of another murdered character, Major Liepa of Riga. Inspector Wallander remains the character fans of Mankell have come to love. He doesn't always get along with his father and daughter or his police superiors, he on the best of days bends the rules of conducting an investigation, on other days he breaks them, he doesn't eat well, he has trouble with the opposite sex and he's a tad hypochondriacal but still loves opera. Does he sound like someone you know?

I found myself not liking this novel as much as previous ones I have read by Mr. Mankell. It may have been that he was writing about locales and people very foreign to him. On the other hand, a B novel by this most talented of writers is better than those of dozens of his contemporaries.

As always, Mr. Mankell writes about big issues, in this instance "the revolutionary events that took place in the Baltic countries during the last year" as he says in a rare "Afterword" written in 1992. He remains one of our very best crime writers.
34 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Crime and politics in the Baltic 13 avril 2004
Par Celia Redmore - Publié sur Amazon.com
"The Dogs of Riga" is one of the earlier books in Henning Mankell's series about his somber fictional Swedish police Inspector Kurt Wallendar and the plot is darker and jerkier than in later stories. I first read the book when it was published in German in 1993 and it's the only one of the series that I regularly enjoy re-reading. There's nothing slick about the story telling: it has a very raw edge to it.
The story follows the traditional Wallendar plotline: an exotic foreigner arrives in the peaceful coastal town of Ystad, accompanied by a slew of violent acts and connections to powerful people that shock the overworked local police force. In this case, the foreign dogs who wash up on Sweden's shore are two very dead businessmen with drugs in their systems.
Wallendar follows the trail back across the Baltic Sea to Riga, the capital of newly independent Latvia. There he involves himself more in local "affairs" than is politic or safe. Mankell kicked up some dust with this book. The Latvia described is a chaotic mix of gangland crime and corrupt officialdom. Some Latvians took exception to that bleak picture. (Latvia became independent in 1991 and "Hundarna i Riga" was published the following year.)
Kommissar Wallendar is often compared to Georges Simenon's Inspecteur Maigret or Colin Dexter's Chief Inspector Morse. In this book, he also shows traces of John Le Carré's Smiley. Mankell has been extremely popular in Europe for a long time. Maybe his books are better read in a cold, damp climate like that of Sweden, but I can't see anything that makes them "difficult for some American readers" as Publishers Weekly advises.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Almost gets there, but shows his inexperience 24 décembre 2010
Par Burgmicester - Publié sur Amazon.com
In this the second book by Henning Mankell, the setting starts in Sweden but then moves to Latvia just as this country is breaking its bonds with Mother Russia. Mankell attempts to bring the reader into the depths of despair of the newly forming Latvia, but he does not quite execute.

The story starts with a life raft carrying two murdered Eastern Europeans landing (with some help) on the shores of Sweden. It is a very slow and uninspiring first 100 pages. The characters are paper thin and the story just doesn't beg the reader's empathy. As the story moves to Latvia, the plot thickens and picks up dramatically as Mankell seems to be on top of his writing as this second phase of the story unfolds. Detective Wallander is asked to come to Latvia to continue the investigation that was begun in Sweden. The writing turns to a "Le Carre-like" spy story and the reader is treated to a myriad of protagonists and possible suspects. The reader is immersed into the "stab in the back" Russian sympathizers and their own anti-revolution sentiments.

However, the last 100 pages revert back to lame writing and a story that just does not want to end. This reader can see the potential building in this author, but in this novel, Mankell oversteps his comfort zone too much. He fails to bring the reader with him throughout the book and turns a promising premise into a somewhat boring effort by simply failing to edit the last 100 pages.

I am enjoying reading Mankell knowing that he develops into something special and experiencing this after the fact by reading books written nearly 20 years ago. This one could really be skipped. The initial offering was more interesting, but the sophomore slump hits Mankell in this one.
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 I have been a stranger in a strange land 22 janvier 2007
Par Lonya - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
In Henning Mankell's "The Dogs of Riga" police inspector Kurt Wallander finds himself alone and possibly in peril in post-Soviet Latvia. He is truly a stranger in a strange land.

The plot of "The Dogs of Riga", the second in Mankell's Kurt Wallander mystery series, is fairly straightforward. Two bodies wash up on the southern coast of Sweden, near the town of Ystad. Police Inspector Kurt Wallander is placed in charge of the investigation. The investigation reveals that the bodies had drifted across the Baltic Sea from the Republic of Latvia. A Latvia police detective arrives to assist Wallander before the investigation is turned over to the Latvian police force. However, Wallander is soon obligated to travel to Riga, Latvia's capital. Wallander is immersed immediately in the Byzantine politics that engulfed Latvia and the Baltic States in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet empire. He doesn't speak the language, he knows next to nothing of the political situation he has walked into, and yet plods on, determined to get to the bottom, not of the murders of the two Latvians, but of a new-found Latvian friend and colleague.

Mankell's Kurt Wallander series is often compared to the Martin Beck detective mysteries authored by the husband and wife team of Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall. Wallander, like Beck, is a police detective in Sweden. Unlike Beck, whose beat was Stockholm, Wallander works in the small southern-Swedish city of Ystad. The Wallander series takes place in the 1990s while the Beck series took place in the 1960s and 1970s. Although I tend to prefer the Beck series, the Wallander books are entertaining page-turners. Mankell stays well within the `police procedural' formula and has not tried to reinvent the genre. However, he has done a good job, in these first two volumes in the series, of developing the character of Mankell and his supporting cast of characters. Wallander is no Sherlock Holmes and gets results more by perspiration than inspiration. He is also a fully drawn character. We see him dealing with the break-up of a marriage, an estranged daughter, and a father who is developing senile dementia. The supporting characters, particularly his fellow detectives, are also well drawn.

Although I think I like the Martin Beck series a bit more, the Kurt Wallander series, so far, has been entertaining. As noted, Mankell stays well within the confines of the police procedural. However, he manages to put together an entertaining plot and keeps the reader `engaged' with his recurring characters. Mankell does not hide clues from the reader. In fact, the opposite is the case. I found myself seeing `clues' throughout this piece wondering if and when Wallander would spot them. Some may find that not to their liking, but it kept me entertained. Recommended. L. Fleisig
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