There has been a change in the typical setting of detective fiction, from small, closed, tranquil communities to urban contexts of greater opacity and diversity. Its hero/heroine is thus now a recurrent figure in a global genre of urban fiction; and the actual detective story writer is a connoisseur of life in the big city. In this article I point to a certain affinity between detective stories and urban ethnography, and proceed to suggest some contrasts between Swedish writers who have recently achieved international fame and a writer of an earlier generation whom I knew personally. This is a way of demonstrating changes in the urban scene of Stockholm, and transformations in Swedish national society.
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