I'm very grateful to "Reg Keeland" ("Steven T. Murray") for his recent comment on a post I wrote about as-yet untranslated Scandinavian authors. Reg has translated Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played with Fire, published tomorrow (6 Jan 2009) in the UK, and which I recommend very highly. He has also translated many other books, of course, including one by Helene Tursten (a favourite author of mine). Here is what Reg wrote as a comment to my post:
"Here's some info on Unni Lindell and Leif G.W. Persson. I think I may have done a sample translation from one of Lindell's Cato Isaksen procedurals several years back for an agent in Sweden, but so far it looks as though she hasn't sold. (Hard to remember, we do a lot of samples.) I thought the series was promising, though.
I was approached about Persson once, but his bestseller in Sweden at the time turned out not to be suitable for the US market, since one of the detectives was an unreconstructed racist. Not amusing — I declined any involvement in that one. Later a colleague of mine translated something by him, but I'm not sure whether publication was canceled or not — I've never seen any mention of the book being in print. If you read German, at least 7 of his books have been translated, and some to Spanish, according to Amazon.
There are many other competent crime fiction writers all over Scandinavia, perhaps not on the A-list like Stieg Larsson and Mankell, but definitely as good as B-list Anglophone mystery writers. I wish more publishers would get interested; there's plenty to choose from.
Since you liked Leif Davidsen's Serbian Dane, I should tell you about his first novel, which we published at our small house Fjord Press in 1986: The Sardine Deception. It was one of PW's best books of the year and even the NY Times liked it, back in the day when a small press could get a review there. I still have a few copies if you're interested. It's a Hitchcockian thriller set in San Sebastian and Madrid, where a young jurist from Copenhagen goes to collect the body of his TV-journalist wife who was killed in a cafe bombing by ETA. And then the Guardia Civil steps in."
Yes I am interested, and thank you, Reg, for taking the time to make such a fascinating comment over here. And – great translations on the first two Stieg Larsson books and on Detective Inspector Huss. I wish you would come over to CrimeFest in May and tell us all about it!