The Scandinavian Invasion
The world-wide success of an author's series, plus the power of Hollywood, have combined to push the mystery genre Nordic Noir to the top of the popularity list among readers. Stieg Larsson, who passed away in 2004, has captivated readers with his Swedish Millennium Trilogy featuring hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mike Blomkvist. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest have sold over 53 million copies and continue to be among the most highly circulated books in public libraries.
Though Scandinavian crime writers have been translated and published in the United States for a number of years, Larsson's trilogy and the recent release of the movie version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo have heightened the awareness of other authors of this genre. If our winter weather hasn't dampened your spirits enough yet, you might want to consider one of these dark crime novels, often described as gritty, morbid, and bleak. Adding to this depressing mood are brooding, world-weary, distressed, imperfect characters who are dealing with issues of social justice in their countries.
Here are some of the top Scandinavian writers featured at Westlake Porter Public Library. You may find there is often a gap of years between when a title was originally published in Europe and when it is translated and published in the United States. In parentheses are the first titles in each series.
In our Mystery section:
Arnaldur Indridason (shelved under Arnaldur) - Erlendur Sveinsson, a detective inspector, and his colleagues Sigurdur Oli and Elinborg, in Reykjavik, Iceland - (Jar City).
Bates, Quentin - Gunnhildur (Gunna) Gisladottir, a police sergeant, in the village of Hvalvik, Iceland - (Frozen Assets).
Dahl, Arne - The A-Unit, special unit investigating violent crimes of an international nature, in Sweden in the Intercrime series - (Misterioso).
Dahl, K. O. - Gunnarstranda and Frank Frolich, police in Oslo, Norway (The Last Fix).
Edwardson, Ake - Erik Winter, a jazz-loving Chief Inspector of police, in Gothenburg, Sweden - (Sun and Shadow).
Fossum, Karin - Inspector Konrad Sejer, working in a small mountain village in Norway - (Don't Look Back).
Mankell, Henning - Kurt Wallander, an inspector in Ystad, Sweden - (Faceless Killers). The author also has several non-series titles in our Fiction section.
Nesbo, Jo - Harry Hole, a police detective in Oslo, Norway - (The Redbreast).
Nesser, Hakan - Chief Inspector Van Veeteren, a veteran of 30 years of police work in a country that resembles Sweden - (Borkman's Point).
Tursten, Helene - Irene Huss, a detective inspector in the Violent Crimes Unit in Goteborg, Sweden - (The Detective Inspector Huss). This author is new to our collection.
In the Fiction section:
Adler-Olsen, Jussi - Carl Morck, an experienced homicide detective in Department Q, and his assistant Assad, in Copenhagen, Denmark - (The Keeper of Lost Causes).
Holt, Anne - Hanne Wilhelmsen, a police officer in Oslo, Norway - (1222).
Kepler, Lars - Joona Linna, a detective inspector in Stockholm, Sweden - (The Hypnotist).
Larsson, Stieg - The Millenium Trilogy - (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo).
Marklund, Liza - Annika Bengtzon, a novice reporter, later crime editor, for Kvallspressen, a tabloid in Stockholm, Sweden - (Red Wolf).
(My thanks to the mystery website Stop You're Killing Me for series and character information - these names are "killers").
If, however, you are looking for mysteries on the lighter side, here are some new additions.
Forman, Steve - Boca Daze - with retired Boston cop Eddie Perlmutter
Hall, Parnell - $10,000 in Small, Unmarked Puzzles - featuring the Puzzle Lady, Cora Felton.
Hess, Joan - Deader Homes and Gardens - the newest Claire Malloy mystery.
Lutz, Lisa - Trail of the Spellmans - book 5 with the dysfunctional Spellman family.
Rowe, Jennifer - Love, Honour and O'Brien - a new series featuring Holly Love in Australia.