Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bouchercon V: One too many mornings ...

... but too few days and evenings to attend all the panels and soak up all the vitality of the event, much less to write about it all. So, a few notes, and expect more such late bulletins and little essays in the coming days. I'll begin with a pair of accolades for a pair of Swedish crime-fiction characters.

A panel Friday bore the amiable title "Books we love." Panelist Ali Karim predicted that Lisabeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo in Stieg Larsson's novel of that name, would become one of this generation' great crime fiction characters.

Lee Child paid even stronger tribute to Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö's great creation: "[Martin Cruz Smith's] Arkady Renko is really Martin Beck. Michael Connelly's Bosch is really Martin Beck."

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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20 Comments:

OpenID maxine said...

You could probably make that Martin Beck comment about a great deal of detectives in series - those that "stand up for the dead". It is a nice tribute. It is often said that the Sjowall/Wahloo novels themselves were modelled on Ed McBain 87th precinct, of which I have read only one so far, so am not able to make a comparison. Although both series are famously ensemble books, is there one equivalent "stand out" character in Ed McBain?

The Harry Bosch analogy does fail in this respect, because Harry is nothing if not a loner. He is in permanent conflict with authority including the SFPD and in latter books the government (homeland security) as what is above all important to him is the victim, not politics or anything else. The Beck novels are far more ensemble pieces, where the crime is solved by teamwork, not an individual.

October 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Maxine, some time back I proposed Ed McBain as a candidate for most influential crime writer ever. More recently he came up in my interview with John McFetridge and again more than once here at Bouchercon.

Lee Child's comment was an off-hand observation rather than a detrailed analysis, but it's still interesting that he spoke of the debt to Sjöwall and Wahlöö in such dramatic terms. (The man is a wonderfully effective speaker.) I shall have to read the whole series now -- or ask Norm to summarize it for me.

October 12, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

One of the things oft-said in the books about JD Robb's 2050s cop Eve Dallas is that she speaks for the dead.

Oh, and I think this post should earn an award for Most Umlauts in an English-language blog.

October 12, 2008  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Not strictly or indeed at all on topic, but I was reading the account of Sarah Palin's puck drop at the Flyers game and this quote impressed me "Philly fans are the toughest in sports, they even booed Santa Claus at an Eagles game."

Puts the Bronx Zoo to shame.

October 12, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

adrian, it's worse than that. They threw snowballs at the old elf. That article argues "extenuating circumstances," but still. . .

Philly's a tough crowd.

October 12, 2008  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Interesting article, I like the fact that Santa feels he got off lightly.

October 13, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Oh, and I think this post should earn an award for Most Umlauts in an English-language blog."

Danke schön.

October 13, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Good god, I'm amazed that the rest of the world still finds that Santa/snowball story interesting. Did anyone throw anything at Palin?

October 13, 2008  
Anonymous Andre said...

Nobody threw anything (not that I saw on YouTube) but the booing was so bad they vamped the PA to max to drown it out. Didn't know the snowball story '68 was before my time.

Keep up the good work. Did you ever do a post about A McCall Smith?

October 13, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Nope, I've never posted about A. McCall Smith, though I did start to read No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency once. I like my crime fiction a bit less gentle than that, which is a shame, because he's writing about a part of Africa that many people don't know about.

October 13, 2008  
Blogger Philip said...

I am going to take it that the point of Lee Child's comment re Beck, Renko and Bosch is in the spirit of what he said rather than the details, which would not bear close scrutiny, or perhaps vaguely where Renko is concerned, but Bosch not at all. Maxine is also right about the Beck novels being modelled on Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series. Sjowall and Wahloo made no secret of that, and Wahloo translated a number of McBain's works into Swedish. Where Maxine's reference to detectives who, like Beck, "stand up for the dead" is concerned, McBain said in an audio interview that Steve Carella, who is certainly the "stand out character" in the 87th Precinct, is "a very concerned cop...there's a body on the sidewalk and there's always that instant of pain in Carella's eyes at the waste of it." There is something of a return compliment paid by McBain to Sjowall and Wahloo, albeit without deliberation, I am sure, in that the amount of social commentary in the 87th Precinct novels increased markedly over the course of the series.

October 13, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'd agree that the remark is far likelier to have concerned the spirit than the details. It came during what amounted to an off-the-cuff testimonial rather than an analytical discussion of Sjöwall and Wahlöö's work.

October 13, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oh, and I think this post should earn an award for Most Umlauts in an English-language blog."


Unlikely.A retrospective piece on heavy metal bands of the 70s-80s would be bound to have umlauts on all vocals plus y and n.

Marco

October 13, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ehm,vowels.
Too much language crossing heute.

October 13, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Was there a heavy-band called Umlaut? I think Diaeresis would be a likelier choice.

October 13, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ik ben het met je eens, mon ami.

October 13, 2008  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Are you sure it's Per Wahlöö, not Per Wahl with two shocked faceys after his name?

October 13, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Shocked, or else with sketpically raised eyebrows.

October 13, 2008  
Anonymous Upozi said...

I'd like to suggest that Sadie Collins in "Sadie when she Died" (Ed Mc Bain 1972) actually "is" Wahloo's Roseanna (1965). Its as if Mc Bain picked up the character and thought he'd see what he could do with her.

September 21, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I had not heard that. Thanks.

People used to suggest that McBain influenced Showall and Wahloo, which Maj Sjowall denied. It's interesting to see that the influence may have extended the other way. I'll think about looking for "Sadie When She Died." I've read too little McBain.

September 21, 2011  

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