They stared at eachother without the slightest enthusiasm. “Maybe we won’t have to work together,” Kollberg said. ” We can always hope,” said Grunwald Larrson.
– The Abominable Man
Ah yes, these are my people. My grandfather was Swedish: I like to account for my unapproachable reserve by referencing his DNA. The nice thing about being an American is that there are myriad genes coursing through most of us to spread the blame. A fellow blogger themofman suggest that I look for the book The Abominable Man which I did, and then read, for three reasons:
The title: (it kind of reminded me of Life of a Useless Man by Gorky, I just like the spirit of titles such as these!)
The country of origin: Sweden
And the fact that it had two authors: Maj Sjöwak and Per Wahlöö which I found interesting. I wonder what the process was like?
I went ahead and read it even though it is of the “Mystery” genre which I do not normally seek out. I recall the moment at my local library a few years back after I had come to the conclusion that I needed to stop buying books, I was navigating my way amongst the shelves when I noticed that all the walls encircling the rows were sorted separately. They were ALL mystery books. I had no idea this was such a popular genre. There is one inimitable mystery writer I always read, but he deserves his own post, ode, sticky bun, something…
Not only do I not read a lot of mystery but Swedish mystery? I’ve seen an episode of Wallander and I even watched the movie Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (the Swedish version which made me really glad I didn’t read the book). I really do not need serial killers afloat in my mind damaging my already weary pathways. At least watching the movie I could fast forward (which I did) and close my eyes. Yes. I’m a coward. So what?
The abominable man is the victim not the murderer, which is always satisfying. Or maybe the abominable man is everyone- protagonist, antagonist, you , me. There was a dry sense of humor throughout the story that I loved, it seemed to me a combination of a Swedish sensibility and also the fact that the book was published in the 70’s. The one quibble I had was this: even though I understand they were really busy – what with a hot on the trail murder investigation, would it have killed them to get something to eat? I really love to read about food consumption/preparation especially in foreign books. Never mind- I compensated by eating copious amounts of gjetost while I read (for you non-Swedes gjetost [pronounced kind of like YAY-toast] is a peculiar goat cheese that apparently only a Scandinavian can love, at least that’s what I’m told by the people who meanly reject my beautiful offer of a perfectly shaved slice of heaven).