The Education of Martin Beck

  • Bernard Benstock


Rarely has the detective fiction subgenre, despite its solid base within popular culture, been employed as a medium of social comment, although like genre painting and other second-level art forms it often mirrors with precise accuracy facets of the known world. Inadvertent sociological observations and the political predilections of individual authors have frequently surfaced in crime literature, particularly because it does pretend to deal with an aberrant stain in existing society, and certain political events have on occasion had their impact on crime novels. The Swedish wife—husband writing team of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, however, set out in their Martin Beck series purposely to examine the condition of Sweden’s society through the detective story medium, and their ten novels, published between 1965 and 1975 (ending with Wahlöö’s death), are a progress through the changes in the effects of the famous ‘Middle Way’ policies that have governed the nation for four decades. Much that occurred in Sweden during that decade brought those policies into question, and in 1976 the Socialists were voted out of office, a year after the last Beck book culminated in the assassination of the prime minister by a ‘welfare child’.


Police Work Murder Case Police Brutality Fire Engine Political Appointee 
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Copyright information

© Bernard Benstock 1983

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  • Bernard Benstock

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