Sjowall and Wahloo's Brave New Sweden

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Clues: A Journal of Detection


It is a critical commonplace that Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo's Martin Beck series is a collection of police procedurals with a social conscience. K. Arne Blom, for example, notes that "In all ten novels, there is a strong Marxist orientation and the tendency found in many fictional works to exaggerate, to reveal some unpleasant truths - in this case, about Sweden" (p. 334). Bo Lundin argues that Sjowall and Wahloo "have been misunderstood by some American critics with muddled politics who claimed that the series sharply criticized the socialist society of Sweden"; he insists instead that "they have succeeded in a serious literary attempt to expand the borders of the detective story and use it to discuss and comment on a much wider and, in many ways, more criminal world" (p. 1554). Wahloo himself stated in a 1966 essay that they wished to "use the crime,novel as a scalpel cutting open the belly of an ideologically pauperized and morally debatable so-called welfare state of the bourgeois type" (Lundin, p. 1553).


For more information on the published version, visit McFarland's Website.

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