Thursday, August 20, 2009


Seamus Scanlon's original post at Crime Always Pays was followed by Barbara Fister's post with her own accurate assessment of the Martin Beck books.

"-they're shot through with humour and irony".

Seamus has replied in the comments that "I agree that the Beck books are full of black humour and irony which I neglected to highlight."

Here is another example of the Sjowall and Wahloo circa 1965 humour that perhaps in these more sensitive times would not get past the editor.

"Yes, of course your colleague showed me her portrait, but you understand, it wasn't her face that I recognize. It's the dress, or more correctly, not exactly the dress, either."
He turned to the left and placed his powerful index finger on Martin beck's chest.
"It was the decollete," he said in a thundering whisper.
Roseanna: Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo

It has become almost a Scandinavian tradition to break up the tension of even the bleakest stories with a little humour. I recall Harry Hole having problems with the 'e' on his computer while trying to write a report on neo-Nazis, and Van Veeteren's colleague Rheinhart brilliant ironical reply to the inquiry whether a headless corpse was really a case of murder that no, it might be someone who could not afford a proper funeral and had donated his head to medical science.

When it comes to dark, scary and sombre Johan Theorin's latest number one best seller The Darkest Room takes some beating, but even among that bleakness he creates a little humour.
Two elderly ladies at the residential home where the elderly sea captain Gerlof Davidsson lives provide the light relief as policewoman Tilda Davidsson waits to take out her grandfather's brother and over hears their conversations.

"Talk things, through, yes," said the first lady. "Once and for all. She says I never supported her. You only thought about yourself and Daddy, she said. All the time. And us kids have always been in second place."
That's what my son says as well, said the other lady. "Although with him it's the exact opposite. He rings before Christmas every year and complains and says I gave him too much love."


Blogger Dorte H said...

Oh, I like these posts about Scandinavian humour! This is one of the really fine features of YOUR blog!

12:08 PM  

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