Sunday, June 14, 2009

How are things going?

A snippet from The Fire Engine that Disappeared by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö:

     On the Monday after Ascension Day, Martin Beck called up Malmö and asked how things were going.
     Hammar was standing 6 feet away from him and had just said: "Call up Malmö and ask how things are going."
     He regretted asking the moment he heard Månsson's voice, for suddenly he remembered the innumerable times over the years when he himself had been the recipient of the same idiotic question. From people in more senior Positions. From the press. From his wife. From foolish colleagues. From inquisitive acquaintances. How are things going?
     Nevertheless, he cleared his throat and said:
     "Hi. How are things going?"

The Fire Engine that Disappeared is the fifth installment in the Martin Beck series which, I'm finding, gets better and better with each book. I quote the foregoing passage because it exemplifies the tone of the whole series and that—as much as the riveting plots, the intriguing cast of characters, and the penetrating glimpses into 1960s and 70s Swedish society—is what has me so thoroughly captivated by these books.

No comments: