>Meet Kalle Blomkvist aka Bill Bergson

>

Left: photo of the boy who played Kalle Blomkvist.
Right: photo of Stieg Larsson.

The other day my daughter came across two volumes of Astrid Lindgren´s Kalle Blomkvist series in an antiquarian bookshop (both published by Gyldendal in 1989).
Fortunately she bought them, giving me a chance to write a short introduction to the well-known Scandinavian boy detective who was an important source of inspiration when Stieg Larsson created his character Mikael Blomkvist.

Bill Bergson, Master Detective (first published in 1946)
“Blood! No doubt about it!
He stared at the red stain through his magnifying glass. Then he moved his pipe to the other side of his mouth and sighed. Of course it was blood. What else can you expect when you cut your thumb? That stain ought to have been the decisive proof of Sir Henry’s doing away with his wife in one of the most horrible murder cases which it ever had been the happy lot of a detective to clear up. But, doggone the luck, it wasn’t so!”

Thirteen-year-old Bill mourns his sad existence, not being born in London or Chicago, but in sleepy old Main Street in a sleepy Swedish town. His best friends are Anders and Eva-Lotte who laugh at Bill for seeing crime everywhere, until a newcomer to the town, Eva-Lotte´s uncle Einar, starts behaving mysteriously. Not only does he buy a torch in mid-summer, he even carries a picklock in his pocket! Finally Bill has an opportunity to try out his detective skills which he does in secret until the danger is so imminent that he is forced to involve his friends.

More than sixty years on, this wonderful children´s book feels anything but dated. What is most interesting, perhaps, is the girl Eva-Lotte. The boys do feel they should not be playing with a girl, but they are forced to admit that any adventure is more exciting when courageous Eva-Lotte takes the lead. She may be dressed in the skirts of her time, but this is just about the only feminine thing about Eva-Lotte. Well done, Astrid Lindgren!

So this was Stieg Larsson´s role model: a young, imaginative but in many ways ordinary middle-class boy who realizes that when it comes to the crunch, he needs help from his friends and family.

And where might Astrid Lindgren have found inspiration for her hero?


Mød Kalle Blomkvist.
Den anden dag fandt min datter to bind af Astrid Lindgrens Kalle Blomkvist-serie i et antikvariat (udgivet af Gyldendal i 1989). Hun købte dem heldigvis, og gav mig chancen for at skrive en kort introduktion til den berømte detektiv, som inspirerede Stieg Larsson, da han skulle skabe personen Mikael Blomkvist.

Mesterdetektiven Blomkvist (først udgivet i 1946).
“Blod! Der var ikke tvivl om den ting!
Han stirrede på den røde plet gennem forstørrelsesglasset. Så flyttede han piben over i den anden mundvig og sukkede. Naturligvis var det blod – hvad plejer der ellers at komme, når man skærer sig i tommelfingeren? Den plet burde have været det afgørende bevis på, at sir Henry havde taget sin kone af dage ved et af de uhyggeligste mord, det var faldet i nogen detektivs lod at opklare. Men desværre, sådan forholdt det sig ikke!”

Trettenårige Kalle sørger over sin triste skæbne, at være født i den søvnige Storegade i en søvnig svensk by, når man nu kunne være født i London eller Chicago. Kalles bedste venner er Anders og Eva-Lotte, selv om de gør grin med at han ser forbrydelser overalt, indtil Eva-Lottes hidtil ukendte onkel Einar dukker op i byen, og opfører sig højst mærkværdigt. Han køber ikke bare en lommelygte midt i den lyse sommer, han går sandelig rundt med en dirk i lommen. Nu har Kalle mulighed for at prøve sine detektivevner af i dybeste hemmelighed, indtil det bliver så farligt, at han er nødt til at bede sine venner om hjælp.

Skønt den er mere end 60 år gammel, forekommer bogen på ingen måde …. Det mest interessante i den forbindelse er måske pigen Eva-Lotte. Drengene tænker måske nok, at de ikke burde lege med en pige, men de må indrømme, at alting bliver lidt mere spændende, når friske og modige Eva-Lotte fører an. Selvfølgelig render hun rundt i den tids pigebeklædning, nederdelen, men det er noget nær det eneste feminine ved denne tidlige, kvindelige detektiv. Flot klaret, Astrid Lindgren!

Det var så Stieg Larssons forbillede: en ung, fantasifuld men på mange måder ganske almindelig middelklassedreng, som indser, at når det virkelig gælder, er han afhængig af hjælp fra venner og familie.

Og hvem kunne man så forestille sig, Astrid Lindgren er blevet inspireret af?

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in Astrid Lindgren, commentary 2009, Stieg Larsson. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to >Meet Kalle Blomkvist aka Bill Bergson

  1. Reg says:

    >Hvem var det så? Jeg har ikke kunnet få fat i nogle af bøgerne endnu helt herude i ørknen.

  2. Dorte H says:

    >Blomkvist nævner selv Sherlock Holmes, Poirot og Peter Wimsey.

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