A daily note on some event in the history of mystery fiction.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
8/5/1926 Per Wahloo is born
August 5, 1926. Long before some girl got a dragon tattoo, Scandanavian crime fiction consisted mostly of an excellent set of novels by Per Wahlöö (who was born on this day) and Maj Sjöwall. These Swedes were very methodical and blunt about their intentions: they were going to write ten police procedurals, each thirty chapters long. They wrote alternating chapters. The books were going to get more political - frankly Marxist - as the series went on. And that is exactly what they did.
They called the entire series The Story of a Crime, which referred to society, not a mere murder or two. The hero was the melancholy cop, Martin Beck. The Laughing Policeman won the Edgar for Best Mystery Novel. It was made into a movie starring Walter Matthau. Among the other actors who starred in movies based on their books is Derek Jacobi.