Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö

Swedish mysteries are all the rage these days, what with Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson and the like, and both Vintage and Rivages have had the bright idea to reissue — in English and French respectively — the oeuvre of Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö, the precursor to the contemporary Swedish crime novel.

As these reissues are occurring simultaneously in English and French, I thought it might be interesting to look at the differences between the American and French approaches to the same novels. The first four titles have so far been released, and so I’ve set up four side-by-side comparisons below.

See also: British cover designs


The American covers look more contemporary, because of the way the upper-half is set up with the bright colours and the erratic lettering. I prefer them. Rivages has been using the same template for several years now, and I think it could use an update.

For those who are interested, I’ve done up a little Sjöwall & Wahlöö website for these new editions.


~ by Thomas on 2008-Dec-29.

One Response to “Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö”

  1. Yes, I like the American cover too. I think they all reflect very well the typographic style of the 60’s, in which the books were written. And they are nevertheless adapted to the requirements of the book market. The novels of Sjöwall/Wahlöö are “the mother” of all Scandinavian crime-stories. Therefore each new edition must always go a step further.

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