Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Maj Sj÷wall and Per Wahl÷÷'s Martin Beck series

From: Joy Matkowski (
Date: 21 Apr 2009

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    Thanks, Luci, for the tip on the recent republication of the series. I loved a couple of them way back when, and someone here said they /must
    /be savored in order. So figuring out their order, assembling the few I have (somewhere), and acquiring the rest has been a task the back of my mind has assigned to my retirement. In view of last year's investment debacle, retirement now will begin at age 92. So now I'll look for a used set that's crossed the Pond or, failing that, consult the UK onlines, and enjoy the books now!
        And also thanks to all of you who every so often tout Crumley's The Last Good Kiss. I bought a battered paperback at one of those $1/bag library sales, and it's all you claimed, and more. I have another in the series, but from the dust jacket flap, it's much, much later, so now I need to find out what's next and get it. Joy

    Luci wrote:
    > I've finally got round to reading the first 5 of these - I meant to for
    > years and they were recently (in the last few years) reprinted in the UK in
    > a lovely set of coordinated edition paperbacks with introductions by crime
    > writers including the contemporary Swedish author Henning Mankell, Val
    > McDermid, Andrew Taylor, Michael Connelly. I guess it's not very noir or
    > hardboiled to be drawn to the matching set, but I can't help it.
    > Recommendation by other writers is a selling point that works very well on
    > me too. And I'd heard that they were Marxists and for me that made me want
    > to read them more, though I realise that might not be considered a plus by
    > everyone. So I couldn't resist buying the whole set at a bargain price
    > recently and have been alternating them with catching up with Rick Riordan's
    > wonderful Tres Navarre books.
    > They are police procedurals but while I wouldn't say they're noir/hardboiled
    > I think they'd appeal to most people who like reading in this area of the
    > genre. They're quite well written, with social comment and a dry sense of
    > humour. They're slow moving (I guess that might put off some fans of very
    > action based PI fiction but noir is often not very fast moving either) with
    > investigations often dragged out and frustrated by absurd bureaucracy.
    > Unlike Jim, I haven't come across any apologias for a discredited
    > (deservedly or otherwise) political system. They're pretty critical of
    > Swedish social democracy at the time (the late 60s, the later books are set
    > in the early 70s, all of them seem to be set pretty close to when they were
    > written and published). In relation to Communism, one investigation actually
    > takes Martin Beck, the main character, to Budapest in Hungary but this isn't
    > seen as an opportunity to describe a wonderful place or an ideal political
    > system - investigating crime in Budapest doesn't seem to be that different
    > in the book from investigating crime in Stockholm, actually.

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