EXPOSED: LIZA MARKLUND trans NEIL SMITH

Posted: March 23, 2012 in review, Scandinavia, Sweden

Exposed is one of the new excellent translations of Liza Marklund’s books by Neil Smith. I judge the translation to be excellent based on the fact that the 535 pages rushed past and my interest was maintained throughout the book even though I have a lot on my mind at the moment. 

During a very hot summer in Stockholm the naked body of a young woman is found in Kronoberg Park at the little Jewish cemetery. Annika Bengtzon, a young inexperienced summer intern on the Evening Post is manning the tip-off line, and gets the assignment as a colleague is on holiday. The young victim, Josefin, works as a dancer at Studio Six, a sex club   owned by her boyfriend Joachim. Annika keen to get to the truth and secure a permanent position on the paper but runs into all kinds of problems interviewing Josefin’s relatives and friends, and her relations with her colleagues become difficult.

‘Thanks for telling me. I’ve only been with the paper for the past fifteen years.’

Fucking fuck, Annika thought as the photographer headed back to his ‘colleagues’. Why can’t I ever learn to keep my mouth shut?

Annika does manage to form a friendship with Josefin’s flatmate Patricia, who also works at Studio Six. She discovers that Christer Lundgren, the Minister for Foreign Trade, has a secret overnight flat in the same block as the murder victim. There is obviously some political chicanery going on involving illegal activities by the ruling Social Democrats, because the minister is prepared to resign even though he wasn’t in the country let alone in Studio Six at the time of the murder. Joachim has taken the name of a Swedish Radio program Studio Six for his sex club purely to annoy them. But when this radio program attacks the coverage of the murder by the Evening Post alleging Annika harassed  Josefin’s parents and friends Annika loses her job and retreats to the countryside, where she enjoys eating mushrooms with her grandmother. On her return after a holiday in Turkey she is able to regain her position on the newspaper but things don’t conclude quite as expected.

Sending that young temp out to deal with bodies and lynch-mobs, for instance, and expecting her to somehow make clear and responsible decisions. He had spoken to the head of new and the night editor the previous evening, and neither of them had actually discussed the paper’s coverage of the murder of Josefin Liljeberg with her. He regarded this as a prime example of editorial incompetence and irresponsibility.

A book about journalism, a murder investigation, intertwined with political ramifications gave me such a sense of deja vue that I had to remind myself that Exposed was written in 1999, way before Danish TV’s The Killing and the Stieg Larsson’s trilogy.  

The other main theme of the book is the vulnerability of women in abusive relationships, and the author provides the reader with a surprising twist at the end, one which makes this novel memorable. 

This novel has been published before as Studio Sex in the USA, and Studio 69 in the UK, but I think the new title and translation will mean it will hopefully get a larger readership. Liza Marklund in Annika Bengtzon has certainly created one of the feistiest and most interesting female protagonists in crime fiction. This is one series that I class as a must read.

 

My review of Red Wolf   

My review of Vanished [Paradise] *My review contains a spoiler concerning Exposed, one of the problems of reading a series out of order. 

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Comments
  1. Norman – Thank you for an excellent review. I couldn’t agree with you more about the quality of this series. It’s well-written and has top-notch plots and characters. And the importance of a good translation, not just for this series but really for any series, cannot be overstated. I’m so glad you brought that up.

  2. Maxine says:

    I read this as Studio 69 and very much enjoyed it. I’m tempted by your review to read it again in Neil Smith’s interpretation.

  3. This one is one of my favourite Marklund novels no matter what title. But as you can imagine, none of the titles would scare off many Danish readers 😉

  4. Norman Price says:

    Thanks Margot. Neil Smith and Don Bartlett both live in East Anglia there must be something in the area that makes good translators. Perhaps the wind blowing across the North Sea from Scandinavia.

    Thanks Maxine. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to go back and read books I have read before, but I admit I have wanted to read The Bomber again with the new translation. Too many books too little time.

    Dorte, I can see why this one is a favourite, I really enjoyed it and especially the clever ending.

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