The Crime Fiction Alphabet: W is for Wahlöö, Per Wahlöö

Esta entrada es bilingüe, desplazarse hacia abajo para ver la versión en castellano.

The Alphabet in Crime Fiction, hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise, has arrived this week to letter W. You can click HERE to find out the contributions of other fellow participants, please do visit their blogs. I’m sure that you will find out some interesting books to read.

My W is for Wahlöö. Per Wahloo (1926 – 1975) was born in Goteborg. After graduating from the University of Lund, he worked as a journalist, covering criminal and social issues. In the 1950s Wahlöö was engaged in radical political causes, activities that resulted in his deportation from Franco’s Spain in 1957.  Upon his return to Sweden, he wrote a number of television and radio plays and became managing editor for several magazines before becoming a full-time writer of political and science fiction novels.

Per Wahlöö is the legendary author behind the acclaimed Dictatorship series. In this extraordinary series – a batch of seven novels and one collection of short stories created over a course of 20 years – Per Wahlöö makes fascinating and highly intelligent use of a ‘thriller-like’ framework to explore the relationship between the individuals and the State.

In 1961, he met Maj Sjowall (Stockholm, 1935). They married the next year and together they conceived and wrote a series of ten novels (police procedurals) collectively titled The Story of a Crime. The novels revolve around a team of police investigators led by Martin Beck at the Central Bureau of Investigation in Stockholm. In 1987, H.R.F. Keating, writer, reviewer and acknowledged detective fiction expert, included Roseanna (1965) in his list of what he considered to be The best 100 Crime & Mystery Books. Several of the books have also been adapted into screen. According to Wahlöö, their intention was to “use the crime novel as a scalpel cutting open the belly of the ideological pauperized and morally debatable so-called welfare state of the bourgeois type.”

Thus far, I have read 7 of the 10 books in the series. My first posts were published in Spanish only, you can notice that by the titles. I’m planning to read the rest of the series soon. Stay tuned.


El Alfabeto del Crimen: W es por Wahlöö, Per Wahlöö.

El alfabeto del crimen, organizado por Kerrie en Mysteries in Paradise,, ha llegado esta semana a la letra “W”. Puede hacer clic AQUÍ para ver las aportaciones del resto de participantes, por favor visite sus blogs. Estoy seguro de que usted encontrará algunas recomendaciones interesantes.

Mi W es por Wahlöö. Per Wahloo (1926 – 1975) nació en Goteborg. Después de graduarse de la Universidad de Lund, trabajó como periodista, cubriendo asuntos penales y sociales. En la década de 1950 Wahlöö se dedicó a defender causas políticas radicales, actividades que le llevaron a ser expulsado de España en 1957 durante la época de Franco. A su regreso a Suecia, escribió una serie de obras de teatro de radio y televisión y se convirtió en jefe de redacción de varias revistas antes de dedicarse a escribir a tiempo completo novelas de política ficción y de ciencia ficción.

Per Wahlöö es el legendario autor de la aclamada serie “Los Dictadores”. En esta extraordinaria serie- compuesta por siete novelas y una colección de historias cortas creadas durante el curso de 20 años – Per Wahlöö hace un uso fascinante y muy inteligente del ‘thriller, como “marco de referencia para explorar la relación entre los individuos y el Estado.

En 1961, conoció a Maj Sjöwall (Estocolmo, 1935). Se casaron al año siguiente, y juntos concibieron y escribieron una serie de diez novelas (procedimientos policíacos) tituladas colectivamente Historia de un crimen. Las novelas giran en torno a un equipo de investigadores policíacos, dirigidos por Martin Beck, de la Oficina Central de Investigación en Estocolmo. En 1987, H.R.F. Keating, escritor, crítico y reconocido experto en novelas policíacas, incluyó a Roseanna (1965) en su lista con los 100 mejores libros de crimen y misterio. Varios de estos libros también han sido adaptados a la gran pantalla. De acuerdo con Wahlöö, su intención era la de “utilizar la novela policíaca como un bisturí con el que diseccionar la ideología y la moral del llamado estado de bienestar burgués”.

Hasta ahora, he leído 7 de los 10 libros de la serie. Mis primeras entradas fueron escritas sólo en español, lo que se puede observar por los títulos de los libros. Pienso terminar de leer pronto el resto de la serie. Permanezcan sintonizados. 


14 thoughts on “The Crime Fiction Alphabet: W is for Wahlöö, Per Wahlöö”

  1. José Ignacio – What a fine choice for “W!” I’m very glad that you highlighted his investigative journalism background as well as his work as a detective story writer. What’s really interesting (at least to me) about the Martin Beck books is that they do discuss the social issues that the authors wanted to discuss, but they don’t let those issues get in the way of telling a good story. It’s part of what makes this series special.

  2. These are truly great classics of the crime fiction genre. Unfortunately these authors often are omitted in discussions of the popularity of Swedish/Scandinavian crime fiction, but so many authors from that region (and others) base their books on ideas in this series. A great idea to highlight these authors and their excellent books.

  3. Excellent post Jose Ignacio, I didn’t realise Per Wahloo had written so many other books before the Beck series. I’m way behind you in reading those, though I do intend to get through them (in order) evenutally.

  4. Thank you for posting this about the true “parents” of Swedish crime fiction, at least the current wave.
    The 10 books written by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo are terrific, and perfect for spending a day or two in Sweden reading about the exploits of Martin Beck and his colleagues. Just the right amount of backstory, crime story, introspection, political analysis and character development. And they made it look so easy. Kudos to them.

  5. That’s pretty true Kathy, their stories may look so easy that there is a risk of not give them their proper value. “Kudos” to them, thanks for remind me of this word

  6. An excellent post – really makes me want to go and re-read the Martin beck series from the start and I’m already a fan! On the other hand I have never read his solo work so i really look forward to those – Thanks Jose.

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