Crime and the Mobile

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve been addicted to the Martin Beck series, written by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo between 1965 and 1975 (for the few who don’t know of this series, it would be sufficient to say this series spawned Nordic crime fiction as we know it today). I’ve been reading them wherever I can – on the Metro, at home, during car rides, anywhere you can think of. I want to know what happens on the next page, the next chapter and in the next book, so I haven’t stopped yet, 5 books down the line. Sjowall and Wahloo make you invest in all the characters, take you through the frustrations of a police procedural drama, and by the end, it’s not the whodunit that is the big reveal, but the travails of Stockholm Police’s Homicide Division as Superintendent Beck and others struggle to close off an investigation.

Martin Beck covers_low res
This is what good crime writing does. It makes you want to read more; it makes you view the characters’ worlds from their viewpoints. As a reader, you are so immersed in the series that you sometimes miss the station where you’re supposed to get off. You simply cannot stop!

So imagine a world where you don’t need to stop reading: in traffic jams, before sleeping, as soon as you wake up, during those frustrating ad-breaks on television, and on a lazy Sunday afternoon sitting out in the sun. Wherever your smartphone goes, you can read. Page-by-page, hour-by-hour, you’re so immersed in the crime that has been committed that you don’t realize your SO is calling you out for not giving them enough attention!

Imagine this too: a more knowledgeable friend notices you’ve been reading the Beck series, and tells you there’s a TV series too, and shares with you the link to the shows. Or when the authors talk about the anti-Vietnam war protests in Stockholm, you can simply click and read more about them. You come across a phrase you want to share with the world, and do so simply by highlighting it. Another friend opens up a conversation about Beck’s influence on Stieg Larsson, and whether India can have a similar police procedural investigative series.
Seems like a perfect world, right?

More than any other genre, crime writing is a perfect match for the smartphone. You don’t need to get home to know who the drowned man was, or whether the person found dead in a blazing house had committed suicide or was murdered before the fire. You are, quite simply, addicted to knowing more.


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