Crime-fiction news from R&J and Sweden

By public vote, the winner of the "Richard & Judy best summer read of 2008" is No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay. The results were gathered from viewer reaction on the Richard & Judy Channel 4 show. "Utterly riveting. It will grab you on page one and won't let you go until the final, stunning conclusion", says Tess Gerritsen. My review of this book is here. Although I enjoyed it, I did have a few caveats, in particular the fact that the solution depended on someone not looking at something properly, which in context was highly unlikely. The book is certainly an exciting, easy read, though: perfect for a summer holiday.

In other crime-fiction news, The Times today runs an article by Barry Forshaw about Stieg Larsson, author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, who died before the book (the first of a trilogy) was translated into English, by Reg Keeland. The article hints that the early death of the author may have been related to his fearless journalism, before revealing that this actually was not the case. The second book in the trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire, is out in January 2009. You can see the cover and read a mini-extract at Euro Crime. (The commenters agree that the picture of the woman on the cover displays a highly unlikely "model-standard grooming".)

If you are a fan of Stieg Larsson and are finding it hard to wait until January, there are many other excellent Swedish (and other Scandinavian) crime novels that will keep you going until then. If you are keen on the investigative journalism theme, I would recommend in particular my adored Liza Marklund's Paradise, which covers very similar themes to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, or Mari Jungstedt's Unseen and Unspoken. Asa Larsson (no relation to Stieg)'s debut Sun Storm is along similar lines although featuring a lawyer rather than a journalist. There are so many fantastic Swedish (and other Scandinavian) novels being published at the moment that the reader is truly spoilt. Johan Theorin's debut Echoes from the Dead (translated by Marlaine Delargy, who also translates Asa Larsson) is being much talked about, and I've recently been indulging in Helene Tursten's three books so far translated into English (the first one also translated by Reg Keeland, using the name Steven T Murray).

If you've read everything published in translation from Scandinavia😉, Karen has just put together an Amazon list for 2009, which I am sure will lengthen as more titles are announced.

5 thoughts on “Crime-fiction news from R&J and Sweden

  1. Thanks for the link to the Forshaw article. I read ‘The girl with the dragon tattooo’ last month — and loved it (review forthcoming on my blog) — and was so sorry to hear the author had died. In fact, I wondered if it might not be some marketing ploy… that it was simply a made up person with a tragic back story to get the book some attention. How cynical do I sound?

  2. About as cynical as me, Kim! But in this case, the author’s books were already successful in Sweden and other European countries when he died, but not yet translated into English.
    I think it must be difficult to market these books “to the full” without an author to help. Apparently, for example, publishers can (or could) only submit books to R&J if the authors are alive, because the winning authors are (were) expected to appear on the show. Seems a bit mean?

  3. If you haven’t come across this already, Barbara Fister, who started the Carnival of the Criminal Minds, has recently created a Web site devoted to Nordic/Scandinavian crime fiction available in English along with a companion blog: http://homepages.gac.edu/~fister/scandcrime/
    and
    http://scandinaviancrimefiction.wordpress.com/ .
    ==============
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”
    http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

  4. Thanks, Peter. Yes, I’ve come across the site, which is in my RSS reader — it features quite a lot of posts from Euro Crime and this blog.

  5. It strikes me as possible that people really into scandinavian mysteries might find things to enjoy in my friend Andrew Brown’s new memoir about Sweden, “Fishing in Utopia”. It’s not about detectives (though there’s a brief discussion of the Marin Beck books) but it seems to me to tell you an awful lot about Sweden and the Swedish in a luminous, fascinating way.
    Can’t seem to get http to work: Andrews blog is
    http://www.thewormbook.com/elegans/hlog/
    And the book is
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fishing-Utopia-Sweden-Future-Disappeared/dp/1862079951?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1213179879&sr=8-1

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