Monday, February 18, 2008

A newly translated Swedish crime writer

Due to be published later this month by Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd, The Streets of Babylon, by Carina Burman, is the first of two books (so far) which feature Euthanasia Bondeson, novelist and amateur sleuth.

Synopsis: The setting is London in 1851, the year of the Great Exhibition. Together with a Welsh police inspector the successful Swedish authoress Euthanasia Bondeson goes in search of her beautiful companion, who has disappeared in the narrow streets and alleyways of London. She meets beggars and whores, artists and society beauties, all actors on the modern city's stage in a drama of dark, shadows and ever changing desires. In this world where gender boundaries are constantly shifting, can we even tell who is a man and who is a woman? With skirts flapping Euthanasia forges her way through this romp of a crime novel, surveying the streets which Sherlock Holmes himself will not tread until a whole generation later.

You can read a longer synopsis on the publisher's page and here's a sample from the first chapter:
The English police are unlike anything seen in Sweden. When we talk of police officers, the English say ‘policemen’. I would almost go a step further and call them ‘police gentlemen’. They are a splendid species, the English police: tall, upright, well dressed in close-fitting, dark-blue tailcoats with silver embroidery on the collar, tall black hats and white gloves. One can hardly believe they perform the same task as our surly Swedish police officers, who stink of schnapps and wield their sticks on anything that crosses their path. The English police gentlemen are unarmed, and it is not beneath their dignity to help two unaccompanied ladies with their luggage and find them a cab.
Read more of chapter one here.


Danielle said...

I've not heard of this one--I'll be adding it to my list. I hope it's being published over here as well--there is always a bit of a lag. Euthanasia, though, what a name.

Maxine said...

Yes, indeed, what a name! I am not generally that keen on historical fiction but as I love Swedish crime fic I will check this one out when it is published -- thanks for the news.