Tuesday, April 12, 2022

PAASKEKRIM: Norway's Easter Crime Wave!

I've posted about Paaskekrim before, but with the increased interest in Scandinavian crime, especially the large number of Scandinavian authors now available in English, I thought I would repost about Norway's Paaskekrim (Easter Crime)! It takes place Holy Thursday through Easter Monday and is a public holiday in Norway. It's 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 Påskekrim, 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.

Some Norwegian Crime Writers
Jorgen Brekke 
Thomas Enger 
Karin Fossum 
Jo Nesbo 
Kjersti Sceen 
Gunnar Staalesen 
Jon Michelet 
Anne Holt 
Pernille Rygg 
K.O. Dahl 
Linn Ullman 
Agnes Ravatn 
Alex 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
There are 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.

1 comment:

Jenna Bennett said...

Definitely all true. It's not just for Easter, though. Norwegians like crime fiction - kriminalromaner - the rest of the time, too. Every summer when I was growing up, the main newspaper in Oslo would serialize a crime fiction novel with a daily installment for the 4 weeks (at the time) of "felles-ferien" - the communal vacation period. Friday night was crime night on TV. (That was back when we only had the one TV channel. Not as long ago as you'd think.) That was when Detektimen - the detect/detective hour - would come on at 9pm with American series like Kojak and Baretta and, later on Criminal Minds and NCIS, and a lot of British and German and other European crime dramas. The last time I was home in Norway for Easter, was 2018, and the Easter Crime miniseries that year was the second season of Unforgotten.