The Petrona Award 2017 Shortlist

Today we’re announcing the outstanding crime novels from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden which have been shortlisted for the 2017 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

I’m attaching details from the press release below which gives further details of these great novels. The winning title will be announced at the Gala Dinner on 20 May during the annual international crime fiction event CrimeFest, held in Bristol 18-21 May 2017. I can’t wait!

The shortlisted books are:

THE EXILED by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

THE DYING DETECTIVE by Leif G.W. Persson tr. Neil Smith (Doubleday; Sweden)

THE BIRD TRIBUNAL by Agnes Ravatn tr. Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books, Norway)

WHY DID YOU LIE? by Yrsa Sigurđardóttir tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton, Iceland)

WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE by Gunnar Staalesen tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books, Norway)

THE WEDNESDAY CLUB by Kjell Westö tr. Neil Smith (MacLehose Press, Finland)

The award is open to crime fiction in translation, either written by a Scandinavian author or set in Scandinavia and published in the UK in the previous calendar year. The Petrona team would like to thank our sponsor, David Hicks, for his generous support of the 2017 Petrona Award.

The judges’ comments on the shortlist and the shortlisted titles:

 “It was difficult to choose just six crime novels for the Petrona Award shortlist this year, given the number of truly excellent submissions from around the Scandinavian world. Our 2017 Petrona Award shortlist testifies to the extremely high quality of translated Scandi crime, with authors from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden making expert use of police investigations, psychological thrillers, private eye novels and historical crime fiction both to entertain and to explore pertinent social, political and historical issues. We are extremely grateful to the translators for their skill and expertise in bringing us these outstanding examples of Scandinavian crime fiction.”

THE EXILED by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

Finnish police detective Anna Fekete returns to the Serbian village of her birth for a holiday, but is pulled into an investigation that throws up questions about her own father’s death decades earlier. As well as exploring the complexities of Fekete’s identity as a Hungarian Serb who has made her life in Finland, this accomplished novel looks with insight and compassion at the discrimination faced by Roma people, and the lot of refugees migrating through Europe.

THE DYING DETECTIVE by Leif G.W. Persson tr. Neil Smith (Doubleday; Sweden)

Lars Martin Johansson, a retired Swedish Police Chief, suffers a stroke after a lifetime of unhealthy excess. Frustrated by his physical limitations and slow recovery, he is drawn into investigating a cold case, the murder of nine-year-old Yasmine Ermegan in 1985. Expertly plotted and highly gripping, The Dying Detective features characters from a number of other crime novels by the author, but succeeds brilliantly as a standalone in its own right.

THE BIRD TRIBUNAL by Agnes Ravatn tr. Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books, Norway)

Former TV presenter Allis takes up the post of housekeeper and gardener at a house on a remote fjord. But her employer is not the old man she was expecting, and the whereabouts of his wife are tantalisingly unclear. Isolated from other villagers, Allis and Sigurd’s relationship becomes progressively more claustrophobic and tense. A haunting psychological thriller and study in obsession that is perfectly complemented by the author’s beautiful, spare prose.

WHY DID YOU LIE? by Yrsa Sigurđardóttir tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton, Iceland)

Yrsa Sigurđardóttir is as adroit a manufacturer of suspense as any writer in the Nordic Noir genre, as this standalone thriller comprehensively proves. Why Did You Lie? skilfully interweaves the stories of a policewoman whose husband has committed suicide, a work group stranded by hostile weather on a remote lighthouse, and a family whose American guests go missing. A compelling exploration of guilt and retribution, which builds to a nerve-jangling finale.

WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE by Gunnar Staalesen tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books, Norway)

Grieving private detective Varg Veum is pushed to his limits when he takes on a cold case involving the disappearance of a small girl in 1977. As the legal expiry date for the crime draws near, Veum’s investigation uncovers intriguing suburban secrets. In what may well be the most accomplished novel in a remarkable series, the author continues to work in a traditional US-style genre, but with abrasive Scandi-crime social commentary very much in evidence.

THE WEDNESDAY CLUB by Kjell Westö tr. Neil Smith (MacLehose Press, Finland)

This multilayered novel tells the story of how a crime is triggered following the chance meeting of two people in a lawyer’s office. While the narrative can be seen as a tragic individual story, it also takes on larger historical dimensions as it unfolds. Set in Helsinki in 1938, on the eve of the Second World War, The Wednesday Club offers an insightful exploration into the legacy of the Finnish Civil War, and the rise of German and Finnish fascism in the present.

The judges are:

 Barry Forshaw – Writer and journalist specialising in crime fiction and film; author of multiple books covering Scandinavian crime fiction, including NORDIC NOIR, DEATH IN A COLD CLIMATE, EURO NOIR, DETECTIVE: CRIME UNCOVERED and the first biography of Stieg Larsson.

Dr. Kat Hall – Editor of CRIME FICTION IN GERMAN: DER KRIMI for University of Wales Press; Honorary Research Associate at Swansea University; international crime fiction reviewer/blogger at MRS. PEABODY INVESTIGATES.

Sarah Ward – Crime novelist, author of IN BITTER CHILL and A DEADLY THAW (Faber and Faber), and crime fiction reviewer at CRIMEPIECES.

More information can be found on the Petrona Award website (http://www.petronaaward.co.uk).

The Petrona Award was established to celebrate the work of Maxine Clarke, one of the first online crime fiction reviewers and bloggers, who died in December 2012. Maxine, whose online persona and blog was called PETRONA, was passionate about translated crime fiction but in particular that from the Scandinavian countries.

The winning author will receive a full pass to and a guaranteed panel at the 2018 CrimeFest event.

Previous winners of the Petrona Award are Liza Marklund for LAST WILL, translated by Neil Smith, LINDA, AS IN THE LINDA MURDER by Leif G.W. Persson, also translated by Neil Smith, THE SILENCE OF THE SEA by Yrsa Sigurđardóttir, translated by Victoria Cribb, and THE CAVEMAN by Jørn Lier Horst, translated by Anne Bruce.

For further information, or for an interview with any of the judges, please contact the administrator Karen Meek (admin@petronaaward.co.uk).

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7 thoughts on “The Petrona Award 2017 Shortlist

  1. Very good list. I recognize some of the titles from Mrs. Peabody Investigates’ blog.
    I have The Exiled on my TBR pile at home. But some of the others I’d like to read,
    but don’t know if I’ll make the deadline unless I do nothing but read.
    Thanks for posting this here.

  2. I just read Where Roses Never Die. It was a good almost police procedural detective novel. This is the first time I’ve read a book by Staalesen book, and I wish I’d read some of his works before, but there is so much to read.
    I understand why Maxine Clarke liked his books. It’s a good nominee for the Petrona Award.

    • Gunnar’s books are brilliant, aren’t they? I think I like the fact that he’s been writing them for around forty years and that, although I like some better than others, some of them are pure gems.

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