I am back from my holiday and return to work tomorrow, so will be in catch-up mode for a while or for ever. Before memories fade irretrievably, I'll report that I read 16 books while I am away – there were four books on the pile in the previous post that I could not in the end take for weight reasons (!), although I did buy Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay at the airport and slipped it into my hand baggage; so when I finished all those I bought a few more: Kjell Eriksson's The Cruel Stars of the Night and The Demon of Dakar; Michael Palmer's The First Patient and Stephen White's Dead Time (the last of which I began reading at 2 a.m. today when I woke up with my brain convinced it was morning – very good so far). In return, I left a few titles behind, donated to future visitors.
Of the 16 books I read, eight (half) were translated – five from Swedish, one Danish, one Dutch and one German. The remainder were a mix of English, Irish, US, Canadian and Australian. Outstanding among these is Johan Theorin's The Darkest Room*, the highlight of my holiday. I also found the following to be excellent reads and would highly recommend them: The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves, Back to the Coast by Saskia Noort, Cop Killer by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo*, Woman with Birthmark by Hakan Nesser* and the two by Kjell Eriksson*.
You may notice a trend here: of 16 books read, seven are very good (which is an excellent average based on my pre-blogging years 😉 ). Six of these seven are translated. (!) The remaining nine varied from "OK" through "meh" (Bernadette's expressively economical term) to "not my cup of tea"/boring.
Further reports will be in the shape of reviews on as many of these titles as I can manage. I'll just note, though, how impressively the Sjowall/Wahloo holds up compared with the rest of my selection, all written some time later. Although dated in some minor details, the book, the ninth in their Martin Beck series, is consistently compelling, not only in its story but also in its clearly articulated authorial viewpoint. it was particularly interesting to read the books by other Swedes, Theorin, Nesser and Eriksson, as part of the same "splurge" as the Sjowall/Wahloo title, as all these books are (to a greater or lesser degree) police procedurals with a social context, each reflecting their own author's preoccupations.
Thank you very much to all those who provided welcome recommendations, either directly for the purpose or via reviews and discussion during the previous few months or so.
[* denotes series, best read in chronological order (see author bibliographies at Euro Crime for correct (and recommended) reading order). The Crow Trap is also a series, but this is the first title in it.]