Swedish schnapps

By WILLIAM CORBETT  |  December 2, 2008

Sjöwall and Wahlöö deliver all that you want from a thriller. This would be enough to recommend "The Story of Crime," but what Auden wrote about Raymond Chandler is true of them — they are "interested in writing, not detective stories, but serious studies of a criminal milieu." Perhaps that should be amended to read that they are interested in writing detective stories so as to study a criminal milieu. For Sjöwall and Wahlöö, the milieu is not organized crime, not the Mafia or Whitey Bulger and the Winter Hill Mob. They studied the nature of criminal violence, what men and woman are willing to do to each other to achieve what they want. That this violence — personal and for sex, revenge, or profit — is an expression of who we are and how we live now, that a society is defined as much by its criminals as by its laws, has particular resonance for Americans in 2008.

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  Topics: Books , Crime, Organized Crime, Hieronymus Bosch,  More more >
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