Scandi Crime Fiction Round-Up

Much of my reading over the Christmas period was Scandinavian focused as I caught up on eligible entries for the 2016 Petrona Award that we’ll be awarding in May. There were some favourite authors in the pile and I was impressed by the way in which these three writers in particular continue to write high quality and interesting mysteries.

a-summer-with-kim-novakHåkan Nesser’s series featuring Van Veeteren is one of my favourites. A Summer with Kim Novak is a standalone novel different in tone and narrative style which is set in the early sixties. Fourteen-year-old Erik is obsessed with Ewa, a teacher who resembles Kim Novak. When a tragedy occurs it’s another twenty-five years until Erik’s memories unpick the events leading up to the ‘incident’. It’s a beautiful novel. There have been two translations by Saskia Vogel which I fear may have delayed the impact of the book in the UK market. I thought the first translation fine but I waited until the Christmas period to re-read the new translation. It’s different but still evokes the memories of a long hot summer and a period of lost innocence.

Antti Tuomainen writes beautifully written mysteries and his previous book The Healer had a haunting quality to it. Dark as my Heart has a strong 519xkpynnPL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_protagonist in Aleksi whose mother disappeared one October day when he was thirteen. Convinced that she was killed by millionaire Henrik Saarinen, the now adult Aleksi takes a job as a handyman at Saarinen’s estate to discover what happened to his mother. The book is an unsettling mystery with readers unsure which characters to trust. The darkness of the narrative is reflected in the bleakness of the landscape and it was perfect winter reading. The translation is by Lola Rogers.

Handler1.ashxI always look forward to the latest offering in the series by Mons Kallentoft featuring detective Malin Fors. She’s a grimly realistic detective and the short chapters and choppy narrative make for an usual read. Water Angels,  the sixth book in the series, has Fors investigating the murder of a couple and searching for her missing five year old daughter. It’s an interesting mystery and Malin is still a fascinating protagonist. The translation is by Neil Smith.


12 thoughts on “Scandi Crime Fiction Round-Up

  1. Sarah, I owe you a long long letter but cannot write now, right now. Just one comment: Is this a deliberate error? > I always look forward to the latest offing in the series by Mons Kallentoft > Deliberate or accidental, it is delightful! Tom


    1. It’s a mistake (of course). I autocorrected ‘pile of books’ to ‘puke of books’ this week to a reader 😦 It’d be lovely to hear from you when you get a chance, Tom. Hope all is well x


  2. More ScandiNoir authors I’ve yet to try! Sarah, you’re always my guide for crime fiction from this part of the world – well, any part, really! One interesting thing I’ve noticed about Scandinavian fiction is that very often one doesn’t know if the author is a man or a woman as their first names are so different to ours – an excellent way of levelling the playing field when it comes to #readwomen!


      1. But that’s because you’re WAY better versed in the literature from that part of the world! I don’t think any crime fiction reader cares anyway, not when there’s so much great fiction from women in the crime world, especially atm. Speaking of which – how goeth no. 2? And hope you had a good Christmas and New Year!


        1. Hi Linda – I had a great Christmas and New Year thank you. I hope yours was relaxing and you weren’t affected by the flooding. Book 2 is going well and is due in September. Hopefully I’ve be able to show the cover soon! Sarah


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