Wednesday, July 16, 2008

INVESTIGATIONS WITH A RETIRED DENTIST





It was George Bernard Shaw who at the 1894 performance of Manon Lescaut gave the opinion that 'Puccini looks to me more like the heir of Verdi than any of his rivals.'

Shaw knew his opera and Maxine of Petrona certainly knows her crime fiction and she has made a similar prediction here.

'there is no doubt in my mind that Helene Tursten has inherited the mantle of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo.' 

'There have been many very good Scandinavian police procedurals since........but I don't think that anyone can  better Helene Tursten.'

Well I have started Detective Inspector Huss, the first in the series, and I can begin to agree with Maxine. 
This is a straightforward police procedural set in Gothenburg with a team of detectives methodically investigating a murder but with additional social commentary about Swedish society. A formula successfully begun over thirty years ago in the Martin Beck books.

'She's Finnish, married to a Swede, but speaks abominable Swedish. I found her through the recommendation of a friend of mine about two years ago. Only Finnish women can clean properly. Swedes are too lazy and Chileans and those types too ignorant.'

And we were told on a train from Uppsala to Stockholm that Lapps were the 'Swedish Apaches'. Admittedly the Lapp in question was blind drunk so his opinions could not be relied upon, but he did say that Sweden was the best country in the world to be an 'oppressed minority'.

I am enjoying Detective Inspector Huss immensely although the Soho Crime edition paperback print is slightly smaller than the optimum size for my eyes. 
I became more interested in Helene Tursten when I read the Swedish Book Review.

I discovered that she had been a nurse and then a dentist, who had been pensioned off at the early age of 39 after developing a chronic rheumatic disorder. Well dentistry's loss was certainly crime fiction's gain and working in nursing and dentistry would give you a large reservoir of characters and experiences for your stories. 

2 Comments:

OpenID maxine said...

Norm, what a wonderful post! I look forward to further gems and insights as you continue reading this fabulous book. You have picked up on some lovely details, and the book is just full of them. (Pity about the cover, though).

Great post, keep them coming!

2:05 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Maxine for the inspiration for the post, and for recommending the book.

6:43 AM  

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