Book review, Community

Book Review – Timeless Swedish crime fiction

The Cop Killer is one of the ten novels in the Martin Beck series by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo – Swedish crime writers. this is the second book I have read in the series and is a far better read than “The Man on the Balcony,” however, both are timeless stories that are just as relevant today as when they were written in the sixties and seventies.  I do believe it is possible to detect an undercurrent of concern about the erosion of morals in these writings, but the commentary on violence in Swedish society in this story, particularly when it comes to trigger-happy cops, and whether Police should be able to carry loaded weapons is certainly a moot point, even today.

Much is made of abnormally high suicide rates in Sweden in the book, but this seems to date the book, somewhat, as it was a popular myth 50 years ago and is indeed, disputed. Now that former Soviet block and fundamentally Catholic countries do actually report their country’s rates, Sweden ranks 44th in the world, well behind Finland, at 19th place and indeed lower than all other Scandinavian countries, even Greenland, which holds the dubious 1st place!

But I digress slightly here, so back to the story itself. A middle-aged divorced woman disappears in Skåne, in rural southern Sweden, (near Kurt Wallander territory), and the suspicion immediately falls to her neighbour, who is a bit odd, and did time for a sex murder many years before. But is he the real killer?

Gun-ho cops attempt to apprehend a couple of youths nearby and through a series of police bungling and separate events, the murderer appears to be discovered, but not without a terrible toll for all concerned. This spills over to the debate for one officer as to whether police should be able to carry arms. Do English ‘Bobbies’ still walk the beat armed only with trudgeons?

I enjoyed this crime fiction book from the swedish pair and it really surprised me to find it was published way back in 1975. Particularly, I found the descriptions of the southern swedish countryside with the walls of fog, to be rich and detailed.Book - The cop killer

The Good: Descriptive settings

The Bad:   Crime is moderately easy to solve. Current retail price way too high.

The Ugly:   Seemingly unrelated threads are a bit too obviously connected to the main storyline.

Rating: Read in 1-2 days. 7 /10

Recommended due its timelessness.

Does the fact that Police carry loaded weapons means they are more likely to

impulse shoot without consideration? Something to ponder about.

Book review, Community, History & Traditions

I Die but the Memory lives on By Henning Mankell – Book review and Memory Book project

I Die but the Memory lives on By Henning Mankell

The World Aids Crisis and the Memory Book Project

Henning Mankell is best known as an iconic murder mystery writer from Sweden, who penned the famous Kurt Wallander stories, translated into many languages, Swedish and british TV series,  and this is a public figure, but not in the way politicians are. However he has been noted for the social and moral questions raised by his fiction. He devotes much of his time to work with Aids charities.blog pictures 121

In 2002, Mankell travelled to Uganda and met many families affected by the Aids epidemic. He meets Aida, a girl growing up in Uganda where Aids kills people from 15 to 20 years old to those in their early fifties. Soon her parents will die. She will become a mother to her siblings. She is 12 years old.  In many parts of Africa, the old people have to look after their grandchildren when the parents are no longer alive. Then when they die, the children are orphans. “Children who have to be one another’s parents have a pretty distorted start in life. They slip up.” Aids in Africa, is an epidemic and illness that is very much treatable in the Western world, where medicine is affordable and obtainable.  In the third world, Aids is not under control, and many die from starvation as there is not enough manpower to keep agriculture going, but we in the privileged Western world know nothing of what is happening there.

In this book, we meet a family in Uganda who is facing this crisis. Henning is deeply affected by the things he sees around him. This story is real and is about real people. Memory Books could make a difference to these children, who grow up without parents. When the official reports have been filed away, these home-made books, will record memories, thoughts and histories of those who died too soon. Through a combination of words and drawings, we can hear the stories of where one came from, what they did, thought and things they can teach their young so that a legacy will remain.  Imagine how it would feel to not know anything about your family, where they came from, their values, beliefs, who they were, and then to be given  a book that gives you a glimpse into their lives.

I was given a book about my Danish family stretching back to 1620, and I think this is the greatest gift I have ever received. I have an identity and I have pride in knowing who I am. This book illuminates the importance of not only these books, but also the problem that the African continent will face in coming years.

A tragic but hopeful book.

This book was received via the book swap site: Bookmooch, however, I will leave it as a gift to someone in my area via the Book Crossing Project. See more here:

Book mooch: http://bookmooch.com/

Book crossing: http://www.bookcrossing.com/

The good: Memory books will live on

The bad: Epidemic where millions will die unnecessarily

The ugly: The western world largely ignores this problem.

We can make a difference… Ponder about that today…..

Charities supporting work with Aids in Africa:

PLAN www.plan-international.org

FFP (Fondation Femme Plus) (Congo)

Jamaica Aids Support

BIDII (Kenya)

EMPOWER ( Education Means Protection of Women Engaged in Recreation)

MEMORY BOOK TEMPLATE

Now to go an make a Memory book of my own..

Including pages on:
This Memory Book is for……………………….

and has been written by………………………..

Information about your Mother :

Family Name………………………………………..

First Names………………………………………….

Nicknames……………………………………………

Date of Birth…………………………………………

Place of Birth………………………………………..

Your Mother’s Story  ( in brief) More added further down –

Our Family Home –

Important Friends –

Special Memories –

Information about your Relatives –

Family Traditions and Special Events –

Sepcial to Me –

Thoughts on Life and Things I Believe in –

My Likes and Dislikes –

Special Interests/Talents –

What I do in my Free Time –

My Health –

My Working Life –

My Education –

About My Childhood and Where I Grew Up –

Information about your Father –

People who are Special to You –

My Hopes for Your Future –

My Favourite Memories of You –

Your Likes and Dislikes –

Your Interests –

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