On the one hand, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö elevated the adverb to heights unseen in crime fiction since the Black Mask days, and those adverbs are generally gloomy. Characters are forever gesturing helplessly and slumping dejectedly. On the other hand are Kvant and Kristiansson:
"Outside police headquarters on Kungsholmsgatan stood two persons who definitely wished they had been somewhere else. They were dressed in police caps and leather jackets with gilded buttons, they had shoulder belts diagonally across their chests and carried pistols and batons at their waists. Their names were Kristiansson and Kvant.(Kristiansson and Kvant are officers in Solna whose eagerness to avoid work takes them over the municipal border into neighboring Stockholm and smack into the scene of the novel's central crime. Their ignorance of the lay of the land is thus plausible.)
"A well-dressed, elderly woman came up to them and asked, `Excuse me, but how do I get to Hjärnesgatan?'
"`I don't know, madam,' Kvant said. `Ask a policeman. There's one standing over there.'
"The woman gaped at him.
"`We're strangers here ourselves,' Kristiansson put in quickly, by way of explanation."
Read more about humor in Nordic crime fiction in Mystery Readers Journal.
© Peter Rozovsky 2011