Thursday, August 11, 2011

Test detects a trace of humor in Swedish crime novel

Did I say Danes were the funniest of the Nordic peoples? No, not really; it was a commenter who said it, but I did not disagree.

But those tension-ratcheting Swedes, Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström, get in a good one, too, in an otherwise grim passage about prison life in their novel Three Seconds:
"Every day in every prison, every waking hour was about drugs: how to get them in, and how to use them without it being discovered by the regular urine tests. A relative who came to visit was also a relative who could be forced to smuggle in some urine, their own, urine that was clean and would test negative. Once, in his first few weeks in Österåker, some mouthy Serb got his girlfriend to piss into a couple of mugs, the contents of which was then sold for a great deal of money. None of them tested positive, despite the fact that more than half of them were under the influence, but the tests did show something else, and that was that every man in the unit was pregnant."
***
Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström will be part of my panel "A QUESTION OF DEATH: HOW IMPORTANT IS WHODUNIT?" on Thursday, Sept. 15, 10 a.m.-11 a.m., at Bouchercon 2011.

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

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11 Comments:

Blogger adrian mckinty said...

I cant wait until you get stuck into Finnish crime fiction. The Finns sound like my kind of people...

My favourite Finnish joke:


"How do you spot an extrovert Finn ?"
"When conversing with you, he's actually looking at your feet instead of his own."

August 11, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Pay attention! I did once read, though, that Finns led the world in literacy, comic-book readership, and suicide.

August 11, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Oh yeah. I think I'm even on that thread somewhere complaining about the title...

Clearly my mind is not what it once was.

August 11, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

And here's the Beaver eating bit from the other thread....

August 11, 2011  
Blogger Dana King said...

I don't know of anyone else who enjoys reading his panelists' books in anticipation of a panel more than you, Peter. This blog is always noteworthy, but your pre- and post-Bouchercon posts are always pleasures.

August 11, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

Oh, yes. And he's on such interesting panels. And Adrian is funny about Finns and beaver. A British cooking show? Who knew?

August 11, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, you are on that thread complaining that anything with sheep in the title is unintentionally funny. I know that you prefer animals that evoke no such comic or ribald associations. Beaver, for instance.

I remember thinking that no way would an American network, much less a publicly financed one, let remarks' like Meades' on the air. They'd be too scared of the reaction from Focus on the Family or from Republican presidential candidates.

August 11, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Many thanks, Dana. Just call me Captain Questions.

In fact, I started doing these pre-Bouchercon posts as a matter of expediency. I would read books to prepare for the panels, leaving me no time to read any other crime fiction, so ...

Since I was reading with an eye to developing good questions, I would read more intensely and analytically than I normally do. And it may take me three days to read a book (work gets in the way, you see), and I like to make a post every day, so I'm naturally compelled to choose odd or obscure subjects sometimes -- some of which may find their way into questions for the panelists.

August 11, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I.J.: A British cooking show featuring Lithuanian recipes, no less.

In fact, the clip was not from a cooking show, but from Magnetic North, the documentary to which I linked in the post where I suggest Roslund and Hellström's world is a kind of Hanseatic League of crime. You correctly pointed out that the league's members traded more than just herring and salt, but for me to have written "Once they traded in beaver; today's commodity is hookers" might have strayed from the high tone I strive always to maintain here at Detectives Beyond Borders.

August 11, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

Chortle!

August 12, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Chortles are always welcome. Guffaws and horselaughs, too.

August 12, 2011  

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