They found the body on a Tuesday. And the surprise came on a Friday. In the mean time, not much happened.
At home, his wife had passed by Wednesday evening, but only to pick up some clothes and to criticise him for not visiting his daughter and granddaughter yet. So he went by on Thursday afternoon. There was nothing to do in the office anyway.
Peppy´s boyfriend opened the door.
– “Ah, it´s you.”
Peppy´s boyfriend had a lot of hair, most of which was knotted in a rastafari fashion. He made a gesture with one of his long arms to show him in.
– “As a matter of fact, yes, it is me,” said the Inspector.
In passing, the Inspector noted that the boy only wore some kind of bedsheet around his waist. The corridor was littered with clothes, packs of tobacco rolling paper, little metal tins, coloured hairclips, broken pencils, raffia mats and bits of uncooked macaroni. In the living room he saw his wife. She sat on the only chair in the room, with a huge african drum between her legs, some kind of turban around her head and an uncomfortable smile on her face. She looked like a protestant pilgrim´s wife visiting an Indian tribe on the first thanksgiving day.
– “There you are,” she said. And with her head she motioned which he way he should look.
At 7.40 AM the alarm clock went off. The Inspector opened his eyes and for a few seconds he hoped his wife had made coffee. Then he remembered, as he had done the days before, that his wife had gone. There was a bitter taste in his mouth, mainly because of one glass of Dutch jenever too many last night. He missed his wife but he would never admit that, not even to himself. He showered quickly, put on some clothes and left the empty house.
In his car, he wondered whether he should call her. He decided against it. If she had anything to tell him, she should be the one to call him, thought the Inspector. Then he started the car.
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.