Monday, February 2, 2015

The Beige Man

Why am I reading another Irene Huss investigation?  You guessed it, because the Soho Crime Club sent The Beige Man (2015) to me.  It's cold in Cambridge, Mass. right now, and it is cold in Goteborg where Irene Huss investigates, so I guess I felt some solidarity there.  And you know, police procedurals from other countries are always kind of interesting, if simply for the small cultural details.  (Swedish cops eat danish too!)  This story deals with the particularly heinous crime of sex trafficking, but the discussions thereof are positively pedantic.  Tursten wants to make a point that these dreadful - and they are really ghastly - crimes happen even in cheerful, organized Sweden (as if we hadn't figure that out already from the whole Nordic Noir genre).  But the Q&As between Our Heroine and the head of the Sex Crimes Unit are clumsily done, and feel like a lecture, albeit a deeply disturbing one.  Finally, while the writing is better here that past Huss novels - I think the translator is different - Tursten still trades in cliche and surface-level observation.  So, the book does not grab and hold.

Given that I seem to be in a rut of mediocrity, crime-fiction-wise, I'm alternating Tursten with Patrick Leigh Fermor these days.  He lost me on the Great Hungarian Plain in Between the Woods and the Water.  I think the clip clop of his borrowed horse's hooves through sun-dappled forests just put me to sleep!  But the writing is a good antidote to Tursten et al, he's just returned the horse, and an interesting Count or doctor or gypsy is sure to come along shortly! 

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