Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Norway's Paaskekrim: Crime Reading during Easter Week

I post about Paaskekrim every year, but with the increased interest in Scandinavian crime, especially the large number of Scandinavian authors now available in English, I thought I should repost about Norway's Paaskekrim (Easter Crime)! Holy Thursday through Easter Monday is a public holiday in Norway, but it's also a time when just about everyone in Norway reads crime novels. Bookstore displays are full of detective novels, television and radio stations run crime serials and newspapers publish special literary supplements.

This is a very peculiar national activity. Publishers in Norway actually time series of books known as "Easter-Thrillers"or PĂ„skekrim, and dates of publication are moved to Spring and released at this time when the sale of mysteries goes up 50%. TV stations, radio and newspapers follow suit by running detective series based on the works of famous crime novelists such as Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Simenon and Ruth Rendell. Many of the Norwegian crime series are rerun.

Why does Norway choose Easter to delve into crime solving? According to one widely accepted theory, the tradition began in 1923 as the result of a marketing coup. Advertisements that resembled news items were published on the front pages of several newspapers, shocking readers who failed to grasp that it was a publicity stunt. This idea spread like wildfire among other publishing houses, and the crime novel became one of the few forms of entertainment available during the Easter break. Cafes, restaurants and movie theatres were closed during Easter, which was supposed to be a time of introspection and repentance. There was no radio, and of course no television either. But everyone could read, and so the Easter crime novel was born.

Norwegian Crime Writers
Karin Fossum
Jo Nesbo 
Kjersti Sceen  
Gunnar Staalesen  
Jon Michelet
Anne Holt
Kjell Ola Dahl  
Pernille Rygg 
K.O. Dahl
Jorn Lier Horst
Thomas Enger 
Unni Lindell
Samuel Bjork 

Great websites about Norwegian crime writers
Scandinavian Crime Fiction
Scandinavian Books
International Noir Fiction
Detectives without Borders
Euro Crime
2 Scandinavian issues of Mystery Readers Journal 
Volume 30: 4 (Winter 2014-15)
Volume 23:3 (Fall 2007)
Hardcopy and PDF -- Reviews, articles and Author! Author! essays, many by and about Norwegian crime writers.

Subscribe to Mystery Readers Journal HERE.

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