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Literature / Tam Sventon
aka: Ture Sventon

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A series of children's books by Åke Holmberg, originally published in Swedish starting in 1948.

The main character is the private investigator Tam Sventon (Ture Sventon in the original), who lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden and is frequently involved in various adventures both around his hometown and in other, more exotic locations across the world. He was born Sam/Sture Svensson but legally changed it when he got older, as he has a speech impediment causing him to be unable to pronounce the letter S. Many of his adventures involves getting help from his Trusty Sidekick Mr Omar, an extremely mild-mannered Arab man who befriends Sventon when he sells him a (working) flying carpet in the first book, as well as his secretary Miss Jansson and often one or several local children. They also often involves his nemesis, Ville Vessla ("Willie the Weasel"), a master criminal who "can escape from prison within three minutes of getting there". Strangely, he is able to pronounce the Weasel's name perfectly despite his speech impediment.


Sventon is fond of "semlas", a type of cream-filled wheat bun popular around Lent in Sweden, and buys them from the only place in Stockholm that sells them year-round, "Rota's Café". In the English translation, this was changed to "hot cross buns". He also is often seen riding around on his flying carpet, which becomes an invaluable tool in his adventures.

He also has a number of catchphrases, most notably "Only use the guns in an emergenty!", "It's always that Weasel!" and "It is too early to talk about that yet!".

His adventures have become both comic books, TV series and movies, and remains a popular if somewhat dated character for Swedish children to read about. The first film about Sventon was made in 1972 starring the legendary actor Jarl Kulle as the eponymous character, however the best version is generally considered to be the 1989 mini-series starring Helge Skoog, which served as the julkalender of the year.


An image from one of the comics is the Trope Image for Bag of Kidnapping.

The series contains nine books plus a collection of short stories:

  • Ture Sventon, privatdetektiv (1948), English: Tam Sventon, Private Detective
  • Ture Sventon i öknen (1949), English: Tam Sventon, Desert Detective
  • Ture Sventon i London (1950)
  • Ture Sventon i guldgrävarens hus (1952) (Radio play)
  • Ture Sventon i Paris (1953)
  • Ture Sventon i Stockholm (1954), English: Tam Sventon and the Silver-Plate Gang
  • Ture Sventon och Isabella (1955)
  • Ture Sventon i spökhuset (1965) (Collection of short stories)
  • Ture Sventon i varuhuset (1968), English: Tam Sventon and Discovery P 3 X
  • Ture Sventon i Venedig (1973)


The books provide examples of:

  • Arch-Enemy: Willie the Weasel to Sventon
  • Big Damn Heroes: Played with in the third book. Omar arrives in time to surprise the weasel and his henchmen when Sventon has been caught, only to get caught himself by another henchman... who in turn gets caught by Lord Hubbard.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Way to many examples to list here.
  • Comically Serious: Everyone, constantly, and a lot of the humor of the series relies on this trope. As Holmberg himself put it, "most detective stories speak humorously of serious things. I do the opposite; I speak seriously of pure poppycock".
  • Faux Affably Evil: Willie the Weasel tries to act as nice as he can when writing blackmails or when he disguises himself, but his mean-spirited ways shine trough easily.
  • Japanese Politeness: Or, rather, Arabian politeness. Omar is so overtly polite that his long formulations and slow talking commonly causes irritation, a Running Gag throughout the series.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Many of Sventons characteristics, such as his flying carpet, his lisping and his addiction to semlor/temlor disappears after the third book. Omar and The Weasel appear less constantly as well. The tone and humor remains unchanged, though.
  • Lean and Mean: The weasel is the Big Bad of the series and slim enough to slip trough a keyhole.
  • MacGuffin: The stolen refrigerator, Nordpolen, of the second book.
  • Only Known By His Nickname: "The Ox", Willie the Weasels partner-in-crime and Dumb Muscle in the first book.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Lord Hubbard in the third book.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Played with throughout the books. While the Weasel does get arrested in every book where he appears except one, Sventon claims that he is only in jail for three minutes before managing to escape.

The 1989 Christmas calendar provide examples of:

  • Composite Character: The four books which the series was based on, Number 1-3 and 5, all featured different children as sidekicks, and the first book featured four. This adaption reduced it to four children, with two of them appearing in the first two stories, while second couple appeared in the last two stories. As a result, the grandchildren of the Fredriksson sisters inherited the roles of both the other two children in the first story and the children of the refrigerator engineer, while the children of the jeweler Henrik Eriksson inherited the roles as the nephew and niece of Lord Hubbard. Probably Enforced Trope Enforced since four child actors would a lot be easier than ten.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification:Type IV. The swap of children above is practically the only way to tell the series from the books.

Alternative Title(s): Tam Sventon And The Silver Plate Gang, Ture Sventon


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