There are two types of police novels that can awaken my interest. One of them is the obscure category of “who-dun-its”. The other is the social-psychological detective novel.
The Swedish detective novels I know of, all are of the socio-psychological variety. In these, it´s not just a matter of finding out who killed who, and how. It´s also meant to dissect society and its effect on people on both sides of the law. More often than not, the murderer is shown to be a victim (“Hey, I’m depraved on account I’m deprived!“) of society whereas the juridical system is shown to be corrupt, bureaucratic and biased.
Since for most people Sweden is the symbol of a perfect social-democratic society, books like these have an inherent irony, much more so than similar novels from – for instance – the United States, which thanks to television and Hollywood we all perceive as a country full of ghetto´s, evil politicians and gun-toting psychopaths.