The Steel Spring
By Per Wahloo
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307744463, 208pp.)
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
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Chief Inspector Jensen is a policeman in an unnamed European country where the government has criminalized being drunk, where newspapers are designed for reassurance, and where the city centers have been demolished to devote more space to gleaming new highways.
Recovering in a hospital room abroad after a liver transplant, Jensen receives a note instructing him to return home immediately, but when he reaches the airport he discovers that all flights home have been cancelled and all communication from within his homeland has ceased. One of the last messages sent requested urgent medical help from abroad. But what has happen? Has an epidemic taken hold? And why has the government fled the capital? To penetrate the silence and mystery that has fallen over the country and its people, Jensen returns only to discover the unthinkable.
Born in 1926, Per Wahlöö was a Swedish writer and journalist who, alongside his own novels, collaborated with his wife, Maj Sjöwall, on the bestselling Martin Beck crime series which are credited as inspiring writers as varied as Agatha Christie, Henning Mankell and Jonathan Franzen. In 1971 the fourth novel in the series, The Laughing Policeman, won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Per Wahlöö died in 1975.