Sunday, January 17, 2010

Scandinavian Crime: Red Blood and White Snow

This isn't news to anyone who's been reading Crime Fiction for the past few years, but Scandinavian Crime is Hot. No that's not an oxymoron. Anyone who reads, knows about Stieg Larrson, and readers of crime fiction know more and have read more Scandinavian mysteries by such authors as Henning Mankell, Helene Tursten, the Sjowalls, Arnaldur Indriason, and many others. Today and yesterday there were two feature articles in two different papers about Scandinavian Crime Fiction.

Laura Miller writes in today's Wall Street Journal about "The Strange Case of the Nordic Detectives: The growing appeal of Scandinavian crime fiction; existential malaise and bad coffee."

I love her first paragraph: "It's a truth universally acknowledged—in literary circles, at least—that gloomy novels don't sell. Inform a reader that the book in his or her hands tells a grim story about depressed characters in a bleak setting, and you'll see it dropped instantly in favor of some breathless thriller about secret messages implanted in famous paintings or a sentimental yarn about love that transcends time. There's one big exception, though: Take that wintery landscape and add a dead body, then take that mopey main character and make him a sleuth trying to figure out who's responsible for the corpse. Double check to make sure we're not far from the Arctic Circle, and suddenly you have the recipe for an international best seller."

Read the rest of the article

And Julia Keller wrote in yesterday's L.A. Times, "Scandinavian mystery novels are hot with readers." She poses the question why the rising fever for Nordic noir and answers it.

Read the the article HERE.

Want to learn more about Scandinavian Crime? Mystery Readers Journal had an issue on Scandinavian Mysteries. Many of the contributors to the Author! Author! section have not yet been translated into English, except perhaps for these essays. Since I'm the editor of the Mystery Readers Journal, I can honestly say we were on the cutting edge. This issue came out in 2007. Check the Table of Contents here.

There are several Blogs devoted to Scandinavian sleuths and crime fiction, one of which is Scandinavian Crime Fiction This blog is part of a project to document and celebrate the amazing amount of high-quality crime fiction coming from the Scandinavian countries and being translated into English. Start up funding for the project was provided by a Research, Scholarship and Creativity grant from Gustavus Adolphus College, a Swedish-heritage liberal arts college in Minnesota. Its companion website The Gustavus Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library has an impressive list of Scandinavian Crime Fiction in English with links to author websites and reviews.

And a few other Blogs and websites on Scandinavian Crime: The Nordic Bookblog This blog on Scandinavian literature presents reviews of books, information about authors, and literary news from Scandinavia. The blog focuses on current literature, primarily fiction, and mostly crime fiction, thrillers, and mystery books. This is an extension of ScandinavianBooks.

And, a few other Blogs and Sites that always or often are about Scandinavian Crime Fiction


Maxine Clarke said...

Thanks for the link to Petrona, much appreciated. I read and enjoyed your Scandinavia supplement last year. I have read a lot of Scandinavian crime fiction in the past three years and overwhelmingly find it excellent and compelling. Asa Larsson, Tursten, Altvegen, Nesbo, Indridason, Sigurdadottir, Mankell, Nesser, Jan-Costin Wagner, S Larsson, Anne Holt, Nesbo, Staalesen, Ella Griffiths, Sjowall/Wahloo, Theorin, and many others. Superb!

Janet Rudolph said...

Thanks, and I'm glad to include you!