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ABOMINABLE MAN Paperback – March 12, 1980
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This novel was written in the 1970s by two authors known for their strong sense of social justice and public impatience with the inequalities embedded in Swedish society at that time. The writing style is little short of brilliant--direct, clean and constantly forward-moving. This particular edition has an introduction by Jens Lapidus, one of Sweden's current hot mystery writers, which is a credible appreciation for Sjowall and Wahloo's ground-breaking writing style. Highly recommended.
Sjöwall and Wahlöö, who pioneered the weaving of social critique into crime fiction, are concentrating on police brutality in this book.
The story presents us with every kind of policeman. Mild mannered Martin Beck, who rarely carries his gun. His best friend Kollberg, who goes unarmed on principle. Gunvald Larsson, a well-armed, bad-tempered, good-hearted man of action. And Nyman and his cronies, who regularly abuse their power and cover for each other.
The novel first appeared in 1971, when people were still playing records and winding clocks, and peaceful demonstrations didn't always end peacefully. Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö give us an interesting picture of Sweden in this era.
The plot of The Abominable Man is fairly simple, and the political message blatant, but for all this I found a book quite satisfying. There's a very funny scene with Nyman's doctor - and the denouement is non-stop exciting. Overall, the book fits beautifully into the flow of the series.
I advocate reading all the Martin Beck mysteries in order, which is what I'm doing. Many of the conventions of crime fiction have their roots in this seminal series. Sjöwall and Wahlöö forever changed the genre with their wit, depth and style.
These Sjowall/Wahloo books have been out of print or hard to get until recently and my local library is slow to add them to the collection of Kindle books, but this is reversing somewhat. These are of more than historical interest and if you like the Scandinavian Mystery/Police Procedure type these are to me where to start.
I think it (Inspector Beck) started with the one just before this one but thus far this is the best.
A number of Detective Beck's associates contribute to piecing together the puzzle of why this former policeman was killed. More mayhem ensues, and Beck and other detectives each play a part.
One of the more opinionated novels and one of the simpler stories. It is fast-paced and will afflict the comfortable without comforting the afflicted. Unpredictable.
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foils for society and their boss.