- 05 Jun 19
Violent Goings-On In Eighteenth Century Stockholm
Stockholm in 1793 appears to have been a particularly unpleasant locale, filth and abject poverty being the order of the day, endured in the aftermath of the Russian-Swedish war and the assassination of King Gustav III. In the midst of this a limbless, eyeless corpse is discovered and the night-watchman Mickel Cardell is roused from his hungover slumber to investigate. He teams up with ailing detective Cecil Winge to bring a killer who seems beyond humanity to justice. There a right old pair - Cardell suffers from both a missing arm and violent mood swings thanks to the war, and Winge - a rational figure in the Holmes mode - is in the final stages of consumption, not to mention his marital difficulties.
A huge success when published in Sweden as 1793 a few years back, this first English translation of Natt och Dag’s riveting debut is the kind of thing page turning and airport book shops were invented for, although the plot does appear to take a bit of a holiday in the middle into seemingly unrelated territory until it becomes clear who’s who. A word of warning however: the atmosphere is akin to the currently in vogue “Nordic noir” genre so when the violence kicks in - it's violent from the start but when it really gets going - it is brutal, graphic, and not a little disturbing. You will literally look away from the page and go "Ah Jaysus!" a few times, so proceed with caution if you sport a delicate constitution, but do proceed.