Sunday, August 16, 2009


In this post at Scandinavian Crime Fiction Barbara Fister rightly points out:

Martin Beck.... has a dose of melancholia [as well as frequent colds] the books themselves are hardly gloomy -they're shot through with humour and irony. Which is another way they resemble McBain more than Mankell.

I would definitely put Sjowall and Wahloo's Martin Beck books possibly just behind Hakan Nesser on the extreme range of ironic/humorous Scandinavian Crime Fiction. Henning Mankell is almost at the other end of the spectrum, but not quite as dark as Karin Alvtegen and with all the other writers positioned along the scale.

There is almost as much variation in style, sometimes in the same book, among Scandinavian writers as among writers from other countries. It is the irony and subtle humour in the most unlikeliest of situations that breaks the tension and makes reading a pleasure.

Elofsson had mechanically begun to push the nearest bystanders back.
"Don't push people, " said Mansson.

Then he looked straight at the people nearest to him, one by one, and said in a loud calm voice:

"There's a dead man in the car. And he looks horrible."
Not a single person pushed forward.

The Fire Engine That Disappeared: Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo 1969


Blogger Dorte H said...


A really fine post about Scandinavian crime - and humour. When it comes to the view on society, I think Wallander may come closest to Sjöwall/Wahlöö.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Jo Nesbø's Harry Hole is over at the extreme range of ironic/humorous Scandinavian crime, probably arguing about the Rolling Stones with his cab driver friend Øystein.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

12:37 AM  

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