Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Everybody Loves a Good Krimi

In English, detective novels and other crime stories are often categorized as "mysteries."

That has always seemed to me to be a bit of a stretch. More often than not, pulp fiction does not really explicate the Eleusinian mysteries.

The Germans, however, have a wonderfully pithy word for the genre: Krimi.

For the past few years, the Krimi par excellence on the world stage has been Stieg Larsson's millenium trilogy, which begins with The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo.

A friend at work gave me two of the three volumes. Dipping into Dragon Tatoo, I found the early going pleasurable but slightly tepid. Then, when I reached page 92, the hook was set. Like millions of others around the world, I am finding it hard to put the book down.

On page 104, Larsson's memorable character Lisbeth Salander drops a synonym for jail or prison that I omitted from my short list of those terms in my post a couple of months ago. Salander notes that Mikael Blomkvist, the noted journalist convicted of libel, is headed for "the slammer" for three months.

The slammer, I suppose, as in the door slams behind you.

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