Murder on the Thirty-first Floor (Inspector Jensen #1)
When the nation's sole publishing conglomerate receives a mysterious bomb threat, Chief Inspector Jensen is ordered to find a culprit within a week--or else. As his investigation begins to reveal the unsavory secrets of a growing list of suspects, Jensen realizes that he has uncovered a tragic story of betrayal and death in which he will play the central role.

Murder on the Thirty-first Floor (Inspector Jensen #1) Details

TitleMurder on the Thirty-first Floor (Inspector Jensen #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 12th, 1982
PublisherPantheon
ISBN-139780394708409
Rating
GenreMystery, Crime, Fiction, Cultural, Sweden, European Literature, Swedish Literature, Detective

Murder on the Thirty-first Floor (Inspector Jensen #1) Review

  • Harry
    January 1, 1970
    Book ReviewIn the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of consciousness. The mode of produc Book ReviewIn the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. - Karl MarxWritten in 1964, Murder on the Thirty-first Floor is grey caviar. The first in a dyptich starring Inspector Jensen, Per's novel takes a fascinating, albeit chilling, look at the relationship between the individual and the State. Fans of Kafka, Orwell, Graham Greene, Heinrich Böll, and Stanley Kubrick will undoubtably be drawn to Per's novels. A pioneer of Scandinavian fiction's predilection to use the crime fiction genre to comment on economical, sociological and political issues Per Wahlöö makes no bones about his ardent allegiance to Marxism.So, let me stop right there!I knew all this before picking up the book. You know, right? I was prepared for Marxism. But, you would think that a book written by a Marxist would elevate the intellectual tenants of the means of production, the social classes, the proletariat and bourgeoisie. Right?And then you come across passages like this:Here we have the abolishment of individualism and free will. Identity is directly tied to the means of production."On the pavements there were people who had temporarily left their cars. As ever, they were well-dressed and looked very much alike. They moved quickly and nervously, as if they couldn't wait to get back to their cars. Once inside their vehicles, their sense of integrity was intensified. Since the cars were different in size, colour, shape and horsepower, they lent their owner an identity. What was more, they brought about a sense of group identity. People with the same cars unconsciously felt that they belonged to a peer group that was easier to grasp than society under the Accord in general."Or, let's take a look at the total abolishment of private lives. In the following, a woman is found drinking in her own home, at which point Jensen immediately sends for a police officer to arrest her. Jensen never arrests someone directly as this is accorded to the identity and function of uniformed policemen, not inspectors."She was nineteen. In the top right-hand corner [of her identity card] there were two red marks, fully visible even though someone had tried to blot them out. That means two arrests for drinking. A third would mean immediate admittance to an alcohol abuse clinic."Or, how about the Self Clearance estates? Large tracts of identical housing are left to whither as nature slowly takes over the grey, concrete block structures, thus eventually across years forcing everyone out."Here and there he saw distant suburbs or self-clearance estates silhouetted against the sky. From the horizon to the motorway, the ground was covered in an expanse of dry and dreary vegetation: deformed trees and low, scrubby bushes."Perhaps it is my predilection towards capitalism, or free-will, or individuality that is preventing me from seeing how anyone could ascribe to this kind of world. Surely not even a Marxist would write this stuff? I mean, no matter where you go, this book is either described as cold, chilling, dystopian, Utopian, Orwelian or what not. But folks, this isn't some future dystopian novel. This is not utopia. This sociopolitical aspect of the book is not fiction. The world described by Per is now actual history. It is a chilling account of what actually happened in Russia and its satellite nations as Marxism is applied. Perhaps some aspects are exagerated for the sake of fiction, but the essence is clear enough.As to the mystery? The book is a police procedural. But, procedures are tied to the economic means of production: in this case the function of a police organization which is to safe guard the proper functioning of the working classes. Inspector Jensen, as said before, does not arrest anyone. That is the function of plain-clothes men. He is perfunctory with his orders to the lower strata of functions, which he views as a function of society, not as individuals to whom he is speaking: always ending his orders with "and be quick about it!"As one reviewer puts it, the book reads like a combination of George Orwell and Dragnet. An accurate observation.Even food plays a role in this mystery (to see what the mystery is about, just read the book description). Throughout the investigation, Jensen barely eats which results in gastronomical pain, a pain that keeps him alert. Only upon resolving the case do we find him scarfing down a huge plate of food at which point he sits back and relishes the dull, sleepy semi-conscious state eating affords him. It is highly suggestive that this, one of the final scenes in the book, is a purposeful act implemented by whatever Ministry is in charge of food production: food as a opiate to quiet the masses. Speaking of Ministries. There's one for every facet of life you can think of: life as completely State controlled.And, of course, primary to the novel is the Marxist view as to the proper function of corporations - in this case The Concern (the place where the crime takes place). A conglomerate of newspapers and magazines (no individual magazines or newspapers exist, they've all been bought out by the Concern). It's purpose? Read on:"In times past, the press often exerted an inflammatory and unsettling influence on its readership. Now, its design and content are designed solely for its readers benefit."What is that benefit?"The publications are aimed at the family, at being something they can all read, at not creating aggression, dissatisfaction or anxiety. They satisfy ordinary people's natural need for escapism. In short, they are in the service of the Accord."At once surreal, existential and imaginative this book is a fascinating view into socialism and Marxism, cleverly disguised as an intelligent mystery novel.------------------------------------------------------------Series ReviewPer WahlööPer Wahlöö (1926–1975) was born in Tölö parish, Kungsbacka Municipality, Halland. Following school, he worked as a crime reporter from 1946 onwards. After long trips around the world he returned to Sweden and started working as a journalist again.He had a thirteen year relationship with his colleague Maj Sjöwall but never married. Both were Marxists. He was married to Inger Wahlöö, née Andersson. He was brother to Claes Wahlöö. He died of cancer at Malmö in 1975, aged 48. He is considered one of the Godfathers of Scandinavian crime fiction (according to Jo Nesbo).Per Wahlöö is the (co-)recipient of some of the finest crime/thriller awards in the world, including The Edgar Award (US), Gran Giallo Citta di Cattolica (Italy), the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award (Svenska Deckarakademins pris) (Sweden), the Danish Poe Club’s Award (Denmark) and Svenska Dagbladets Literary Award (Svenska Dagbladets Litteraturpris) (Sweden).Along with his Dictatorship series and surely as a result of his collaboration with common-law wife Maj Sjöwall (resulting in 10 Martin Beck crime novels) Per Wahlöö stands out as one of Sweden's finest and most controversial writers of the 20th century.
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  • Brad
    January 1, 1970
    I have read and loved the Martin Beck series several times. The partnership of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö was a powerful voice in Scandinavian literature, a powerful voice in the police procedural, and a powerful voice for political change. This makes them precisely the sort of authors I can't get enough of, but I must admit I've been frightened to read Per Wahlöö's solo work for fear that his writing would suffer for the lack of Maj Sjöwall.Although there is no denying his writing lacks somethi I have read and loved the Martin Beck series several times. The partnership of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö was a powerful voice in Scandinavian literature, a powerful voice in the police procedural, and a powerful voice for political change. This makes them precisely the sort of authors I can't get enough of, but I must admit I've been frightened to read Per Wahlöö's solo work for fear that his writing would suffer for the lack of Maj Sjöwall.Although there is no denying his writing lacks something that Sjöwall must have brought to their collaboration (which I will expand upon later), I was wrong to be frightened. Murder on the Thirty-First Floor is all Wahlöö, and it is a cracking good read.I expected -- as I imagine most of us would -- that Murder on the Thirty-First Floor was going to be a police procedural, and the back cover blurb reinforced that expectation. We are told that Chief Inspector Jensen has a week to find a would-be bomber, so the promise of a police procedural seems to be utterly fulfilled. And it is. But that only tells half the tale because it is the other half that seems to be the most solidly Wahlöö's -- the dystopia. Murder on the Thirty-First Floor takes place, you see, in a sterile (Eastern? Northern?) European city where crime has been reduced to the constant rounding up of alcohol abusers (it's difficult to tell how many of them are actually alcoholics), the cleaning up of automobile suicides, and the rare "major" crime like theft or murder. It is a city where litter is non-existent, where the housing crisis has been solved by banks and banks of concrete apartment blocks designed to become derelict, and where the "Welfare State" has wiped away visible problems while deepening malaise to unprecedented levels. It is a city where one hundred and forty four publications -- comic books, magazines, newspapers, what have you -- are owned and operated by one "benevolent" private company, dedicated to making sure that nothing they print will ever bother anyone and to making as much money as they possibly can in the process.This unnamed city creeps up on the reader with its stultifying civility until genuine discomfort sets in, and the city's traits are reflected in our Chief Inspector Jensen. He is our window into this city, our connection to the story, our POV, but he is just as sterile, conforming, uncaring and damaged as the city itself. It all makes for an uncomfortable sense of dread. And it is here that the absence of Maj Sjöwall is most felt (see, I told you I'd get back to it) because without her, Per Wahlöö's cynicism is untempered. The Martin Beck series is full of bleak landscapes and storylines, but it is offset by a sliver of hope if not genuine optimism. Murder on the Thirty-First Floor, however, is hopeless, but this doesn't mean that it suffers from the lack of Sjöwall; it is merely a different experience. Indeed, this also doesn't mean Murder on the Thirty-First Floor isn't excellent. It is. And luckily, I appreciate hopelessness (if you don't, however, you may want to steer clear). Best of all, my fear of reading my favourite collaborating authors on their own has evaporated. Bring on Wahlöö's The Steel Spring, then I have to find something solo by Sjöwall too.
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  • Malcolm
    January 1, 1970
    Jensen is a police Inspector in the capital city of plutocratic corporatist state somewhere in the near future investigating a bomb threat against a major magazine and newspaper publisher. As his investigation develops it seems to become more perfunctory, slightly more absurd and all the while more disturbing. In part this is a result of Wahlöö’s fastidious writing; the book is peppered with detailed lists – of what Jensen eats, of the notes he takes, of the contents of his desk, of the corridor Jensen is a police Inspector in the capital city of plutocratic corporatist state somewhere in the near future investigating a bomb threat against a major magazine and newspaper publisher. As his investigation develops it seems to become more perfunctory, slightly more absurd and all the while more disturbing. In part this is a result of Wahlöö’s fastidious writing; the book is peppered with detailed lists – of what Jensen eats, of the notes he takes, of the contents of his desk, of the corridors he walks in the Skyscraper, home to the publishing conglomerate – the reek almost of compulsion but evoke a sense of detail, surveillance of the minutiae and as a result of a panoptic order. If he wasn’t a Marxist writing in the early 1960s, I’d say he’d read too much Foucault, but as it turns out it might be the effects of dystopians such as Orwell and Huxley. This predates the Martin Beck novels written with Maj Sjöwall and is slightly less subtle in its politics, although Wahlöö conjures up the image of a state that seems to blend the corporatism of Fascist Italy, the plutocracy of contemporary Russia and intellectual torpor of mediatised late capitalism in a deeply disturbing manner. At the heart of the tale is the control of a nation’s cultural life, dominance by an élite and a willingness to suppress by any means necessary in order to maintain order. And who better than a senior police officer to expose the machinations of power.
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  • Foe
    January 1, 1970
    Llegué a este libro por la reseña de Julián Díez en C: http://www.ccyberdark.net/2228/asesin...Mientras que Julián se centra en la componente distópica —uy, perdón, prospectiva—, yo voy a intentar analizar más niveles de la obra para que se entienda mejor la diferencia entre su valoración y la mía.Asesinato en la planta 31 es un crossover entre novela negra y un subgénero de la literatura fantástica, la distopía, por lo que ofrece muchas líneas de análisis. Es muy similar por tanto a la más cono Llegué a este libro por la reseña de Julián Díez en C: http://www.ccyberdark.net/2228/asesin...Mientras que Julián se centra en la componente distópica —uy, perdón, prospectiva—, yo voy a intentar analizar más niveles de la obra para que se entienda mejor la diferencia entre su valoración y la mía.Asesinato en la planta 31 es un crossover entre novela negra y un subgénero de la literatura fantástica, la distopía, por lo que ofrece muchas líneas de análisis. Es muy similar por tanto a la más conocida y ligeramente menos mala Patria .Una obra de literatura debe ser analizada en dos niveles: textual y subtextual. El nivel textual está caracterizado principalmente por el argumento (lo que pasa en el libro) y el nivel subtextual por el tema (lo que el autor quiere transmitir al lector). En una novela coherente, en una buena novela, argumento y tema están relacionados.La literatura fantástica añade un tercer factor: la hipótesis fantástica, es decir, el "cambio" que propone el autor con respecto a la realidad (lo que va detrás de "¿qué pasaría si..."). En una novela fantástica coherente, en una buena novela fantástica, la hipótesis fantástica es contingente, es decir, el argumento no sería viable si no aceptáramos ese cambio. Este detalle es importante.En las utopías, salvo raras excepciones, la hipótesis fantástica es única y consiste en un cambio acontecido en el pasado del que se deduce lógica e inevitablemente (pse) el mundo en el que se ambienta la novela. Existen innumerables clasificaciones de la literatura utópica pero, en mi opinión, la clave es la relación entre la hipótesis fantástica y el tema de la novela: http://foehammer.tumblr.com/image/457...Centrándome en Asesinato en la planta 31:-Hipótesis fantástica: la sociedad ha alcanzado el Consenso. No existe conflicto alguno, ni opiniones que admitan una postura opuesta, existe un acuerdo total y por fin la sociedad avanza sin dar pasos atrás.-Argumento: se ha recibido un aviso de bomba en la sede del consorcio que edita todas las publicaciones periódicas del país (periódicos, revistas y cómics). El comisario Jensen es encargado de investigar quién está detrás de la amenaza.-Tema: la libertad de expresión es un derecho fundamental y necesario.Y cómo funciona la novela:- Como distopía: bastante bien, mejor que varias distopías convencionales. El comisario Jensen actúa como cámara y documentador de esta sociedad en la que no existe debate alguno. La hipótesis fantástica está intrínsecamente relacionada con el tema, La relación con el argumento está un poco más cogida con pinzas, pero entra dentro de lo coherente (para querer bombardear la sede de una editorial basta con estar en contra de su línea editorial, no es necesario que sea la única existente). El retrato de las consecuencias es evidente y queda claro que el origen se puede trazar al "cambio" planteado por el autor.- Como novela negra: mal. El caso tiene muy poco interés, la investigación es apenas una excusa para mostrar distintos niveles de la sociedad y servir de excusa para que varios personajes puedan monologar durante la "interrogación" del comisario. No existen callejones sin salida, ni giros, la única dificultad para el comisario es el plazo que recibe arbitrariamente para finalizar la investigación. La tensión narrativa depende total y absolutamente de ese temporizador, todo lo que sucede alrededor es intrascendente. Y hasta las últimas 20 páginas del libro no pasa nada realmente consecuente.- Como obra literaria: fatal, de verdad, fatal. Para empezar, el argumento no tiene relación con el tema y toda la carga temática se centra en las últimas páginas de la novela y en un personaje que acaba de aparecer. Además, el protagonista no tiene absolutamente ninguna relación con el tema más allá de su dolor en el "lado derecho del diafragma" (el hígado, vaya). Pero ninguna, eso de que el protagonista debe sufrir un conflicto y un cambio debe de ser para autores decentes. Por último, da la sensación de que el libro fue escrito en dos periodos claramente diferenciados, sin proceso de corrección relevante: en la primera parte del libro (algo más de la mitad) hay una ausencia total de referencias físicas y resulta casi imposible situar al protagonista; hay incluso una escena en la que el comisario está en su despacho y en el párrafo siguiente está a mitad de camino, ¿adónde? ¡sorpresa!. La segunda parte se caracteriza por la obsesión por especificar la hora que es en todo momento (como en el primer capítulo) y por prescindir de cualquier subterfugio para ocultar el alcoholismo del protagonista (es decir, olvidar que hasta entonces se había intentado disimular).Con todo, podría haber dado dos estrellas al libro, pero la edición en español termina de hundir una obra de por sí regular:- El uso de las palabras "estándar", "eventualmente" e "inusual" con el significado que tienen "standard", "eventually" e "inusual" en inglés me llevó a pensar que la novela estaba (mal) traducida del inglés en vez de del sueco. Al ver que el traductor es especialista en traducción directa del sueco me di cuenta de que lo que pasa es que no domina el español. De hecho, cuando vi que había traducido a Strindberg, fui a buscar mi edición de La señorita Julia para asegurarme de que no había sido mutilada por él.- En una escena en la que el comisario va a entrevistar al director y entra a su despacho, es el editor el que hace algo, a pesar de que se le describe como al director y las referencias posteriores aclaran que se trata en efecto del director. Porque cuidar la continuidad es de débiles.- Por suerte el estilo del autor es lacónico y prácticamente todas las oraciones son simples, porque los líos que se hace con la puntuación en cuanto hay oraciones compuestas es como para que se lo haga mirar.
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  • José Vázquez
    January 1, 1970
    Aunque aparezca solo como "novela policíaca" la realidad es que este compendio de las dos novelas del comisario Jensen de Per Wahlöö es una mezcla casi 50-50 de este género con la CF distópica, probablemente la clase de combinado que a mí más me satisface. Y es que algo que hemos defendido los fans de ambos géneros es que son perfectos escalpelos con los que diseccionar la sociedad en la que vivimos y hacia la que vamos.Lo más interesante de ambas novelas es, sin duda, el escenario. Ambientada e Aunque aparezca solo como "novela policíaca" la realidad es que este compendio de las dos novelas del comisario Jensen de Per Wahlöö es una mezcla casi 50-50 de este género con la CF distópica, probablemente la clase de combinado que a mí más me satisface. Y es que algo que hemos defendido los fans de ambos géneros es que son perfectos escalpelos con los que diseccionar la sociedad en la que vivimos y hacia la que vamos.Lo más interesante de ambas novelas es, sin duda, el escenario. Ambientada en un país sin nombre de reminiscencias claramente escandinavas, Wahlöö fabula con el ocaso de las famosas socialdemocracias nórdicas devenidas en una sociedad gobernada eternamente por el Consenso, una suerte de Gran Coalición permanente que hace que todo funcione bien y sin fisuras... si no fuera por los elevados índices del alcoholismo, el alto número de suicidios (oficialmente "muertes repentinas") y la baja natalidad. Una suerte de sociedad más parecida a la precrisis que a la de 2017 donde todo está bien hasta que uno se pone a mirar. En este escenario se mueve el comisario Jensen, un policía que no se cuestiona el sistema pero que, como muchos de sus homólogos de la novela negra europea, a veces se salta las órdenes para resolver el caso que trae entre manos.En Asesinato en la Planta 31 tiene que ver con amenazas a la sede del Consorcio, un megaconglomerado editorial y de comunicación que edita todas las publicaciones que se venden como un proceso fabril más. Todas ellas son controladas y dirigidas a una vida plácida, feliz y sin sobresaltos. La investigación de Jensen en busca del remitente de unos anónimos amenazadores sirve para mostrarnos el reverso tenebroso de ese remanso de paz y tranquilidad que es la sociedad del Consenso. De alguna manera nos viene a decir que todo el Estado del Bienestar que hoy casi añoramos como un bucólico estado pastoril era un anéstesico destinado a llevarnos... bien, a esto más o menos. La investigación en sí es un McGuffin para que Wahlöö se despache a gusto contra la prensa en general y no deja de resultarme curioso que un periodista de El Mundo comparase el proyecto de Podemos con lo que se nos muestra en esta novela. Yo lo interpreto más como una crítica a El Mundo y en general la prensa actual. Sí coincido en que a Wahlöö Podemos le habría parecido criticable, pero por motivos bien distintos a los del citado artículo. Asesinato en la planta 31, sin ser perfecta, funciona como un reloj y mantiene un equilibrio entre todos los aspectos que la hace muy muy disfrutable.El trampolín de acero intenta mantener el nivel, y durante buena parte de sus páginas lo consigue. En este caso tenemos una extraña epidemia que ha hecho cortar todas las comunicaciones del país sin que se sepa muy bien qué ha pasado. A Jensen, que andaba en el extranjero por baja médica, le encargan investigar lo sucedido. Uniendo pasajes casi de postapocalíptico o historia de zombis con lo negro, la novela fracasa al intentar explicarlo todo. Puede que me parezca manido, descabellado o simplemente que la crítica al estamento médico me parezca más traída por los pelos que la crítica a la prensa, pero el final es anticlimático y poco satisfactorio. Iba a decir que cliché, pero tampoco es que el de Asesinato en la planta 31 fuera muy sorpresivo. Tal vez ese regusto final lastre un poco el volumen completo, pero sería bastante injusto decir que no me lo he pasado muy bien mientras lo leía.Por eso lo adjudico un 4. La primera lo sería, un 4,5 si me apuras, pero la segunda no la veo llegar al 3 y si hago la media decido tirar para arriba. Al menos por la primera historia, una lectura bastante interesante para los fans de la novela policíaca y de la CF más social como un servidor.
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  • Mutlu
    January 1, 1970
    Mit Genuss habe ich viele der Krimis , die er zusammen mit seiner Frau geschrieben hat, gelesen. Dieses war wohl sein Erstling. Der Klappentext verspricht "vielleicht sein wichtigstes Buch". Vielleicht .... die Begründung für diese Vermutung bleibt offen. Die Sprache wirkt hözern, die Charaktere sind seltsam. Eventuell hängt das damit zusammen, dass die deutsche Übersetzung auf der englischen Ausgabe beruht? Das Ganze ist aus der Zeit gefallen. Geschrieben 1964 in der Vergangenheistsform, spielt Mit Genuss habe ich viele der Krimis , die er zusammen mit seiner Frau geschrieben hat, gelesen. Dieses war wohl sein Erstling. Der Klappentext verspricht "vielleicht sein wichtigstes Buch". Vielleicht .... die Begründung für diese Vermutung bleibt offen. Die Sprache wirkt hözern, die Charaktere sind seltsam. Eventuell hängt das damit zusammen, dass die deutsche Übersetzung auf der englischen Ausgabe beruht? Das Ganze ist aus der Zeit gefallen. Geschrieben 1964 in der Vergangenheistsform, spielt in einem nicht definierten sozialistischen Land in einer nach aussen rosigen Zeit (Zukunft?) kein Science-Fiction, aber sicher eine Sozial-Fiktion aus Schweden.Seltsam.
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  • Elisabeth Haljas
    January 1, 1970
    Incredible to think how short time span the whole book is happening. One week. Well, it is so engaging it took me only a couple of days to read. The dry humour and ridiculous characters one might meet during an ongoing investigation is incredibly entertaining. The book sucks you into it and when you get to the last two pages you are so lost as to what the hell just happened, you have to read it all over again. And then the after-an-incredible-book-depression hits. Unless you got another great bo Incredible to think how short time span the whole book is happening. One week. Well, it is so engaging it took me only a couple of days to read. The dry humour and ridiculous characters one might meet during an ongoing investigation is incredibly entertaining. The book sucks you into it and when you get to the last two pages you are so lost as to what the hell just happened, you have to read it all over again. And then the after-an-incredible-book-depression hits. Unless you got another great book lined up. This is brilliant!
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  • Lobstergirl
    January 1, 1970
    A phlegmatic, digestively-impaired detective in an anti-intellectual socialist dystopia has seven days to figure out who sent a bomb threat to a large magazine publishing company with lots of chromium furniture. Society has been so dumbed-down that although magazines "only dealt with princesses and how to make gingersnaps," they are above the readers' heads. I think the author is in favor of women's pubic hair, but I couldn't tell if the badger that frightened the children was supposed to be all A phlegmatic, digestively-impaired detective in an anti-intellectual socialist dystopia has seven days to figure out who sent a bomb threat to a large magazine publishing company with lots of chromium furniture. Society has been so dumbed-down that although magazines "only dealt with princesses and how to make gingersnaps," they are above the readers' heads. I think the author is in favor of women's pubic hair, but I couldn't tell if the badger that frightened the children was supposed to be allegorical.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    This is the second of Wahloo's futuristic novels I've read. I prefer his novels set in unnamed Latin American countries (for a brilliant and astonishing novel of his, read A Necessary Action set in a village in Franco's Spain in the 1950's).Jensen is completely colorless except for stomach pain, never explained (hernia? ulcer?). The novel has a strong narrative pull but is ultimately dissatisfying and even distasteful --to this reader at least. However, some aspects of the society seemed prescie This is the second of Wahloo's futuristic novels I've read. I prefer his novels set in unnamed Latin American countries (for a brilliant and astonishing novel of his, read A Necessary Action set in a village in Franco's Spain in the 1950's).Jensen is completely colorless except for stomach pain, never explained (hernia? ulcer?). The novel has a strong narrative pull but is ultimately dissatisfying and even distasteful --to this reader at least. However, some aspects of the society seemed prescient (a complete dumbing down/entertainment as most important). Alcoholism, suicide, low birthrate are considered the society's downside.
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  • Mikhail Ignatev
    January 1, 1970
    Не знаю, откуда возникла идея, что это какой-то неплохой писатель. ОЧЕНЬ схематично, дидактично и, в целом, довольно неумно. Наверное, в 1970 для советского читателя это было что-то новое.
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    Here is a police novel set in a near-future world where the police/welfare state is fully established.A powerful combine, called The Concern, has bought up all the magazines and newspapers in this unnamed northern country. The people are fed a constant diet of bland, meaningless nonsense. Anything that could cause people to be concerned or upset is removed. Whether it is a children's comic book or a women's magazine, there are lots of bright colors everywhere. Sometimes, the same pictures of chi Here is a police novel set in a near-future world where the police/welfare state is fully established.A powerful combine, called The Concern, has bought up all the magazines and newspapers in this unnamed northern country. The people are fed a constant diet of bland, meaningless nonsense. Anything that could cause people to be concerned or upset is removed. Whether it is a children's comic book or a women's magazine, there are lots of bright colors everywhere. Sometimes, the same pictures of children or puppies are used in different publications. Everything is edited and printed in the same thirty-floor skyscraper.The building receives an anonymous, mailed bomb threat, and those in charge don't know what to do. After worrying that the disruption will be too costly, the decision is made to stage a fire drill, and the building is evacuated. When no explosion happens, Inspector Jensen of the Sixteenth Division is given the task of finding out who sent the bomb threat. His boss, the Chief of Police, intentionally does not want to know what's going on. Jensen has one week in which to crack the case, and he cannot let anyone in the skyscraper know what he is doing. That might cause them to become nervous or fearful, something which is practically a criminal offense. His investigation leads to the nearly-mythical thirty-first floor of the building, which few have seen, home to the Special Department.I can only give this a rating of Pretty Good. It has some really good utopian ideas in it, but I guess Swedish police novels (where this was first published) are a lot different than American police novels. It reads like a cross between 1984 and an episode of the police show Dragnet; Inspector Jensen is a person of very few words.
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  • Kerrie
    January 1, 1970
    This novel comes before THE STEEL SPRING which I reviewed recently. Again it is a dystopian novel. In the unnamed country crime rates are falling and so are birth rates, but the government has recently made it illegal to become inebriated not only in public but also at home. Every night the jails are filled with drunks, and the government makes a small fortune by fining the inebriates.Publishing of all sorts has become a monopoly of the group that owns The Skyscraper, the 31 storey building that This novel comes before THE STEEL SPRING which I reviewed recently. Again it is a dystopian novel. In the unnamed country crime rates are falling and so are birth rates, but the government has recently made it illegal to become inebriated not only in public but also at home. Every night the jails are filled with drunks, and the government makes a small fortune by fining the inebriates.Publishing of all sorts has become a monopoly of the group that owns The Skyscraper, the 31 storey building that dominates the capital city's skyline. As a result the people are fed a bland diet of feel good material whatever their choice of reading. The Skyscraper employs over 4,000 people and these all have to be evacuated when the bomb threat arrives by post. Stopping the presses even for a short time is extremely expensive, and the managing director of the publishing group contacts the chief of police for advice and immediate action. Neither is pleased when Chief Inspector Jensen advises that they must evacuate the building as he can't guarantee safety of those inside. However there is no bomb.Jensen is given seven days to find out who sent the threat. His life is complicated by the fact that the pain that eventually sends him out of the country for a transplant in THE STEEL SPRING is ever present, but he is a dogged investigator and eventually finds out the truth. This is not your every day crime fiction novel and those who have no taste for political polemic or satire might like to steer clear of it.
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  • Manuel Antão
    January 1, 1970
    Marxist SF: "The Murder on the 31st Floor” by Per WahlööPublished for the first time in 1964 (2011 edition read).NB: First read in German a long time ago. This is my first reading in English.“The Murder on the 31st Floor” starts as a spiritual murder of cultural criticism, the freedom of expression and then in the physical liquidation of the last social critics.“The Murder on the 31st Floor” is a novel in several ways that breaks with Wahlöös earlier novels, which mostly take place in foreign di Marxist SF: "The Murder on the 31st Floor” by Per WahlööPublished for the first time in 1964 (2011 edition read).NB: First read in German a long time ago. This is my first reading in English.“The Murder on the 31st Floor” starts as a spiritual murder of cultural criticism, the freedom of expression and then in the physical liquidation of the last social critics.“The Murder on the 31st Floor” is a novel in several ways that breaks with Wahlöös earlier novels, which mostly take place in foreign dictatorships, mainly Spain and Latin America. But all his novels, from the beginning, with the football novel "Sky Goat" (1959), are power studies of various types. You can read the rest of this review on my blog.
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  • Ken Fredette
    January 1, 1970
    I thought that this book was relevant to today with a few exceptions. There would be no typewriters and there would be i-phones everywhere today. Inspector Jensen was aware that things were not normal at the building and wasn't fooled by the publishers finding a party to the letter themselves. He struggled with the problem for the remaining time allotted him to find the perpetrator. Per Wahlöö was a very intelligent chap to write this story back in 1964. The ending was worth reading the story.
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  • Maria Beltrami
    January 1, 1970
    Un'atmosfera che sembra presa di peso da 1984 permea questo romanzo ambientato in una non meglio identificata e assolutamente distopica nazione nordica, dove, con metodi degni di Huxley, la popolazione è stata ridotta a uno stato di bovina acquiescenza, in nome di una non meglio identificata "concordia sociale".Una lettera anonima mette in moto delle indagini, il cui esito non riuscirà a scuotere il commissario che le porta avanti, vera rotella non pensante dello status quo, nonostante mostri un Un'atmosfera che sembra presa di peso da 1984 permea questo romanzo ambientato in una non meglio identificata e assolutamente distopica nazione nordica, dove, con metodi degni di Huxley, la popolazione è stata ridotta a uno stato di bovina acquiescenza, in nome di una non meglio identificata "concordia sociale".Una lettera anonima mette in moto delle indagini, il cui esito non riuscirà a scuotere il commissario che le porta avanti, vera rotella non pensante dello status quo, nonostante mostri un minimo grado di ostinazione.Aggiacciante e gelido.
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  • Miriam
    January 1, 1970
    Extraordinary well written! Really feels that you are living in a brave new world, but grey, cold, with people under a rose-like ideological dictatorship. I was rather surprised by the development of the story and not very sure that I wanted to continue reading it. There was no crime committed, no blood, no forensics, no sex motivations, and a detective likewise grey and uncommunicative as the other characters, in spite of that, I read it in no time. Really extraordinary.
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  • Paola
    January 1, 1970
    Scritto nel 1964. Si puó dire che la realtá ha superato la fantasia, o meglio la profezia di Per Wahloo.Purtroppo per noi.
  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    Some hints of Martin Beck to come, but this is rather different: a disturbing dystopia (with a very odd detective), a vision of either a future or a parallel universe in which the author is making some political points from his Marxist perspective, but the actual functioning of the society seems more a combination of neoliberalism and old-fashioned authoritarianism (the sinister publishing company has bought up all the opposition and only a monopoly is now possible, which is what tends to happen Some hints of Martin Beck to come, but this is rather different: a disturbing dystopia (with a very odd detective), a vision of either a future or a parallel universe in which the author is making some political points from his Marxist perspective, but the actual functioning of the society seems more a combination of neoliberalism and old-fashioned authoritarianism (the sinister publishing company has bought up all the opposition and only a monopoly is now possible, which is what tends to happen eventually in the "free" market, but there is a strangely proactive attitude to controlling the consumption of alcohol in the home which is more reminiscent of early 20th century Scandinavia). The detective is abrupt to the point of rudeness (and hypocritical too regarding alcohol), and he consigns people to the hands of torturers in order to extract confessions without a second thought, so you are presumably not meant to warm to him. The idea that people can be distracted by triviality away from considering serious social issues is surely indisputable (one of the purposes of the publishing company). I *loved* the fact that a paternoster lift was used to get rid of someone! and was mystified by the significance of the badger incident. The ending is pretty chilling. Interesting.
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  • Massimo Carcano
    January 1, 1970
    Pensavo di leggere un giallo, di uno di quei giallisti scandinavi che vanno di moda adesso e invece, che sorpresa, scopro che Per Wahloo, insieme alla moglie Maj Sjowall, ha preceduto di parecchi decenni Stieg Larsson e i suoi discepoli. Il suo Delitto al trentunesimo piano è però qualcosa di più di un semplice giallo, è anche uno spunto di riflessione sulla società dei media, che se si pensa l'epoca in cui è stato scritto (1964) sa tanto di preveggenza!
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  • Oryx
    January 1, 1970
    Anyone want to take these pliers I got here and pull really fucking hard on my Wisdom Tooth? I'll pay you. Anyway, whatever; I'm so delirious I'll probably have forgotten what even happened by tomorrow. I tried to read something decent but... well... PAIN. This is the fifth such infection and I realise I've not even talked about the book. Very meh. There we are. 3.5
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  • Serdar
    January 1, 1970
    Adapted into the hallucinatory black comedy "Kamikaze 1989" starring Rainer Werner Fassbender, the original novel is bone dry but creepy all the same. Not quite science fiction, not quite dystopian social commentary, not quite straight up police procedural, but at the nexus of all three.
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  • Donald
    January 1, 1970
    This is a strange one, it's cold and clinical language works and it feels completely modern despite being written over 50 years ago. The futuristic setting even works too, although technology is obviously dated, it's almost steampunk seen from todays DNA, touchscreen, mobile phone culture.
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  • chrisa
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this surreal book. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. It's made me think a lot about the media I consume, especially magazines and newspapers.
  • Marc Tiefenthal
    January 1, 1970
    Ik vond dit boek uitermate deprimerend en nogal naast de kwestie, als er al een kwestie is. Weinig spanning, veel maatschappijkritiek zonder fundament.
  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    A great dystopian tale. Better than Beck.
  • Michele
    January 1, 1970
    J'ai lu la série des dix polars avec Maj il y a longtemps. Celui-ci ne m'a pas déçu
  • Linda Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    weird, believable...especially now in Trump's ignorant, lie-loving America
  • Lukasz Pruski
    January 1, 1970
    Per Wahlöö is one half of the Swedish mystery writing duo Sjöwall and Wahlöö, who - between 1965 and 1975 - wrote a great series of crime novels featuring inspector Martin Beck and detectives Lennart Kollberg, Gunvald Larsson, Einar Ronn, etc. The series contains some of the best police procedurals I have read in my life; I find "The Laughing Policeman" and "Roseanna" the most outstanding. In addition to highly realistic and captivating plots, the books present quite a critical view of the Swedi Per Wahlöö is one half of the Swedish mystery writing duo Sjöwall and Wahlöö, who - between 1965 and 1975 - wrote a great series of crime novels featuring inspector Martin Beck and detectives Lennart Kollberg, Gunvald Larsson, Einar Ronn, etc. The series contains some of the best police procedurals I have read in my life; I find "The Laughing Policeman" and "Roseanna" the most outstanding. In addition to highly realistic and captivating plots, the books present quite a critical view of the Swedish "welfare state" society.Per Wahlöö's "Murder on the Thirty-First Floor" is not a part of the Martin Beck series. It is quite a unique crime novel: a dystopian police procedural. The action takes place in an unnamed country (Sweden could very well be the location) at some point in not a very distant future. The government is involved in a massive social engineering experiment: heavy censorship and restrictive social policies are used in the name of creating "social equality". The newspapers and magazines can print only positive news and stories, which make the readers feel good. The anti-alcohol policies are draconian; for example, the police can arrest people for getting drunk in their own homes.The country has only one magazine publishing concern, a conglomerate that produces all 144 magazines available in the country. Chief Inspector Jensen is ordered by the Chief of Police to an emergency - the directors of the concern have received a letter with a bomb threat against their main building, which is the workplace for thousands of people. After supervising the evacuation, the Chief Inspector is given seven days to find the author of the threatening letter. The plot is quite straightforward, and I have not found it very interesting.The most interesting parts are the Orwellian fragments like, for instance, "'True' reporting is not always the best! 'The truth' is a commodity which must be handled with utmost caution in modern journalism. You cannot be sure that everyone will tolerate it as well as you can." The higher a person is in the organizational hierarchy, the stupider he or she is. The publisher, who is at the very top of the concern, is a complete, utter idiot, the managing directors are all idiots, the lower-level directors are morons, etc. In addition, the secret of the thirty-first floor is plausible and compelling.One thing I do not understand. Mr. Wahlöö as well as Ms. Sjöwall used to call themselves Marxists. Marxism (which I believe I know a bit as I grew up in its shadow) resulted in one of the most catastrophic social engineering experiments in human history. Yet the author criticizes a similar kind of social engineering to the one that Marxism led to. I do not get it.Two and a half stars.
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  • Scrittevolmente
    January 1, 1970
    Un romanzo interessante, ma non sviluppato nel modo giusto, a parer mio.Ci troviamo in una cittadina di un non meglio identificato paese in un futuro non troppo lontano, in cui la censura regna sovrana: il potere di informazione è nelle mani della Casa, una casa editrice universale che ha il compito di pubblicare tutte le riviste di cui la popolazione ha bisogno per andare avanti giorno dopo giorno, anche se con la peculiarità che nessuna critica può essere smossa verso nessuno.Esatto, nessun co Un romanzo interessante, ma non sviluppato nel modo giusto, a parer mio.Ci troviamo in una cittadina di un non meglio identificato paese in un futuro non troppo lontano, in cui la censura regna sovrana: il potere di informazione è nelle mani della Casa, una casa editrice universale che ha il compito di pubblicare tutte le riviste di cui la popolazione ha bisogno per andare avanti giorno dopo giorno, anche se con la peculiarità che nessuna critica può essere smossa verso nessuno.Esatto, nessun commento negativo nei confronti di chicchessia, toni smorzati e sempre equilibrati, le pagine delle riviste presentano ai lettori articoli privi di sostanza pura, che mettono in risalto i successi, belle foto patinate, eventi allegri e che evidenziano in tutto e per tutto il benessere della società. Anestetizzano con parole vuote, stampano pagine e pagine di nulla assoluto allo scopo di impedire alla gente di ragionare, soffocano le polemiche, le critiche, i commenti, i confronti, tutti quegli espedienti che di norma accendono la mente degli esseri umani spingendoli a pensare, a litigare, a giungere a compromessi, a raffrontarsi con altri al fine di giungere a stadi di intelletto sempre più elevati.È proprio in una società abulica che lavora l’ispettore Jensen, un personaggio non troppo caratterizzato, una marionetta cupa quanto ogni altro del libro, una sagoma di carta che si muove tra piccoli misteri e dialoghi surreali, attraverso i suoi occhi e le sue azioni ci troviamo immersi in palazzi e strade piene di gente che non sa cosa farne della propria esistenza.Per leggere la recensione per intero: QUI
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  • Rosalba
    January 1, 1970
    Scritto nel 1964, è un romanzo che guarda ad una ipotetica società futura e, come molti hanno già scritto, ricorda senz’altro il romanzo di Orwell, 1984. Qui il potere è quello della stampa, un unico grande editore, la Concordia, che controlla l’informazione e orienta, attraverso le sue numerose riviste, il pensiero della gente, dando una visione distorta della realtà sociale, un’idea di normalità e di tranquillità. In realtà in quel Paese si vive in case tutte uguali, in periferie fatiscenti e Scritto nel 1964, è un romanzo che guarda ad una ipotetica società futura e, come molti hanno già scritto, ricorda senz’altro il romanzo di Orwell, 1984. Qui il potere è quello della stampa, un unico grande editore, la Concordia, che controlla l’informazione e orienta, attraverso le sue numerose riviste, il pensiero della gente, dando una visione distorta della realtà sociale, un’idea di normalità e di tranquillità. In realtà in quel Paese si vive in case tutte uguali, in periferie fatiscenti e desolate, dove alto è il tasso dei suicidi e gli alcolizzati abbondano. Ho trovato noiosa e piatta la figura del commissario Jensen, il quale non disdegna di ubriacarsi ogni sera nella solitudine del suo appartamento omologato, alimentando la propria ulcera, ma che sa anche essere severo ed esigente con i sottoposti e assolutamente privo di pensieri o riflessioni proprie di fronte alle inquietanti rivelazioni raccolte dagli indagati. Tre stelle e mezzo.
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