I confess that most of my knowledge of Scandinavian crime fiction comes through seeing Scandinavians movies based on the books rather than actually reading most of them. However, I have every intention of digging into the books some day, because both the endless night of winter and the midnight sun in the summer clearly is driving a lot of these people batty and is therefore fascinating.
I haven't read anything by her, but appreciate the heads-up. I read any mystery by any Scandinavian writer, as so far all of them have been good.
I'm trying desperately to remember the title or author of one Scandinavian mystery -- a girl is found dead at the edge of a pond, all signs point to a mentally deficient boy who might also have an unhealthy interest in little girls. Does this ring a bell for anyone?
I finished a long novel today by Jo Nesbø. It's called The Redbreast, and is the third of eight in the Harry Hole series so far.
I knew nothing about this author when I found the book at the library, simply snatching it up because it was Scandinavian crime fiction.
Parts of the book take place on the Eastern front in WWII, and relate to events unfolding with Oslo police detective Hole in present time.
The book was good, although maybe a little too tricksy. Also, I got bogged down in the characters and was a bit confused by some of the plot. I notice that a reader on the Amazon site had the same problems. Still, I would definitely read the next book in the series.
Just got back last night from Santander in Spain. The only thing I bought were 3 books, one of which is a translation of a Scandinavian crime novel by Camilla Lackberg. I know, it's silly to buy a translation, but I had a hard time finding books that I wanted to buy since I don't know any Spanish novelists. I did ask for help in the shop and the clerk gave me 2 other names, but I decided that since I would be reading the Scandinavian book in translation anyway, I may as well read it in Spanish. I'll report on it one of these months.
I'm adding that I just read Bixa's link. I find it too bad that people are trying to read Scandinavian crime fiction because of Larssen's books. I think they stand on their own and are generally better than his books. Of course, what do I know? I only read volume 1.
I just finished a Harry Hole book by Jo Nesbø called Snowmen. Why are these Scandinavian policemen such alcoholics? (Although I understand that policing is a stressful job.) Anyway, it's pretty good, not too much confusion, unlike the book Bixa mentions above. I think it's the first one I have read by him -- I found it at the library.
What a boring, stupid book! This thing has won awards, but I can't believe it would be any better in Swedish than it was in translation.
Right at the beginning I was disconcerted to find that the opening scene is in °°drumroll°° Oaxaca. Right after that, I was barfing over the usual idiot-savant treatment of characters not from the first world.
Then there are scene shifts to introduce more of the characters, to greater or lesser effect. One scene is quite a nice character study which later gets lost in the meandering plot, bewildering cast of very marginal players, and plain bad writing.
This is the third in a series about police detective Ann Lindell. Those of you who have complained about fictional detectives with boozing or other problems would find yourselves yearning for Ann to get snockered or get a rash or something -- anything -- to make her interesting. About the only personality shown is that she seems to be quite peevish.
Need I go on? I can't imagine I'd ever read another book by this author unless someone here tries it and recommends it very highly.
I'm nearly halfway through the Lackberg book. I don't know whether it's the translation -- sometimes I get the impression that it was translated from English rather than Swedish -- I'm immediately struck by a direct translation of an English-language cliché.
Anyway, it's okay. I'm not sure I would go out of my way to read others but would probably read one from the library if I found it. The main character is in fact not a policeman but a woman writer. I hope her writing is a bit better than the author's.
Having seen this thread several times,went ahead while at the used bookstore today got Henning Mankell's Sidetracked. Thought I would give it a go although, a departure from my usual repertoire of reads.(Sounds a bit gruesome..but,giving it a shot).
In today's paper, there is a review of another Scandinavian crime novel. The headline is "If you like the 'Girl with the Dragon Tatoo'...
The book in question (Three Seconds by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom), doesn't sound like something I would bother with, but the review if pretty funny.
"This is the sound of music, for those who publish mystery novels these days: "He accelerated after Slussen, along Stadsgardskajen, then braked and turned off just before Danvikstull bridge and the municipal bounday with Nacka. Down Tegelviksgatan and then left into Alsnogatan to the barrier that blocked the only road up to Danviksberget."
My favourite line in the review is "The know how to deliver the kind of stilted, world-weary verbosity that somehow quickens the pulses of this genre's readers. Even better, they are on a first-name basis with the Seven Dwarfs of Scandinavian Noir: Guilty, Moody, Broody, Mopey, Kinky, Dreary and Anything-but-Bashful."
Actually, the first paragraph quoted is one of my pet peeves about popular mystery writers. They have to churn out enough pages to satisfy their publishers, so resort to detailed descriptions of routes in cities unfamiliar to us. Sara Paretsky is particularly guilty (or should I say Guilty?) of this, and Sue Grafton has been known to sneak some of it in also.
I just finished two more Scandinavian mysteries (I know, I know -- but I found them at the library)
A Swedish one by Ake Edwardson: The Last Winter, of which the hero is the policeman Erik Winter. The final book in the series with an ending I re-read because I couldn't believe it was the end of the book.
An Icelandic one by Jon Hallur Stefansson: The Arsonist. Titles are approximate because I read the French translations. I liked it less than the other Icelandic writer whose name escapes me for the moment.
A cool interview this a.m. on NPR . Very enlightening,no spoilers I believe in the interview. It's about the authors behind the author of The Hypnotist, a hugely popular novel under the pseudonym Lars Kepler. It interestingly touches on the topic of why this genre is being produced in this part of the world.
Reading back over this thread, I realize that most of it was written in 2012! I have basically given up on Scandinavian crime fiction since then. I have signed up at my new local library and saw that they have some books by the Icelandic author Indrisson Arnuldur (or something similar) so I might crack, but only if I run out of other things to read.