Thursday, July 14, 2011

Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

[Ullholm said,] "I'd make for the mountains if it weren't that the whole of Lapland is lousy with Lapps.  You see what I mean, don't you?"
"I'm married to a Lapp girl," Rönn said.
Ullholm looked him with a peculiar mixture of distaste and curiosity.  Lowering his voice, he said, "How interesting and extraordinary.  Is it true that Lapp women have it crosswise?"
From their 1968 novel, The Laughing Policeman, which was made into an American movie (it starred Walter Matthau and Bruce Dern) in 1973.  The book was the 4th of the series of 10 mystery novels the couple wrote between 1965 and 1975 (the year Wahlöö died) that featured a fictional Swedish police detective named Martin Beck.

Sjöwall and Wahlöö lived together for 13 years, but never married.  They considered themselves Marxists.  

When I read this passage recently, it reminded me of an old joke about Japanese women (supposed dating back to World War II):  "It's not six o'clock, it's a quarter 'til three." 

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