Last updated: 31 march, 2010 - 11:07 GMT

Art and Culture

Queenan's Crime Scenes

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American author Joe Queenan's passion for crime fiction sees him heading to two very different locations to find out about the nature of the crime there and how it is reflected in the indigenous hard-boiled literature.

He hits the streets to meet police, former gang members, lawyers, civilians in order to discover their thoughts on the reality of crime in their territory, then speak with the crime writers who use that reality as the source and inspiration for their work.

In programme two, Queenan will visit Sweden, perhaps the most exciting and important centre for crime fiction over the last two decades, most recently offering up Stieg Larsson's international phenomenon, the Millennium trilogy.

Sweden has had a stable population for generations, overseen by one of the most prevalent welfare state systems in the world.

In recent times, immigration has started to increase the tensions within this apparently most benign region; a rise in violent assault and highest incidence of reported rape in particular have been used as fuel by strengthening right wing movements who accuse Muslims in particular of being responsible. It's no accident therefore that Larsson's books in particular focus closely on sexual assault.

Joe will examine the social tensions that make this apparently tranquil region such a rich source of thrillers, unpicking the manner in which writers are questioning the strong hand of the welfare state, and dissecting the growing problem of far-right activism.

First broadcast on 31 April 2010

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More from this series

  • Crime in cities informs the home grown literature

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