Alphabet in crime fiction: Larsson

L Asa Larsson is one of my very favourite authors. She's written most of a six-book series about a troubled Stockholm financial lawyer called Rebecka Martinsson. Three of the books have been translated into English, superbly, by Marlaine Delargy. As I understand it, the translation fate of some or all of the rest hangs in the balance. I truly hope that these excellent novels will be translated and will receive the wider audience they so well deserve.

In the first novel of the series, Sun Storm (UK title The Savage Altar), Rebecka returns to Kiruna, the small town she left in disgrace many years before, because her old schoolfriend Sanna is suspected of murder. Sanna's brother was killed in the revivalist church that he led. To help Sanna, Rebecka has to face the dark past of her childhood. Not only does the novel have an excellent plot, it also provides a rich background of the ways of life in this remote village, especially that of Rebecka's grandfather, and an unusual police detective, Anna-Maria Mella. Sun Storm won Sweden's best first crime novel award (2003) and was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger (2007), very deservedly so. It has also been filmed (in Sweden), with the title Solstorm.

The second novel, The Blood Spilt, is set in midsummer, and opens with another murder in a church, again in the Kiruna region. Despite these superficial similarities, the two books are very different, as The Blood Spilt explores the shadows within the local community that fell over Mildred, the dead woman, and tells the story of Yellow Legs, a lone wolf living in the forests. This book won Sweden's best crime novel award in 2004.

The Black Path, the third in the series, opens with the discovery of a dead woman in a fisherman's ark on a frozen lake. Anna-Maria needs a lawyer to explain part of the case – so she calls on Rebecka, who is desperate to get back to work. The preface:
"Do you remember what happened?
Rebecka Martinsson saw her dead friend lying there on the gravel in Poikkijarvi. And the world shattered. And they had to hold on to her to stop her walking into the river.
This is the third book."

Links in the book titles above take you to my reviews of the novels at Euro Crime.

Asa Larsson at Wikipedia.

Asa Larsson at Scandinavian Books.

Crime Fiction alphabet series at Petrona.

Mysteries in Paradise, home of the crime fiction alphabet. Visit this link if you would like to participate.

6 thoughts on “Alphabet in crime fiction: Larsson

  1. Maxine – Thanks for this glimpse at Asa Larsson’s work. I’m glad you brought up the translation, too. Many times, the translation plays one of the most important roles in how well the plot and characters work.

  2. O, I thought it was the other Larsson😀
    Åsa Larsson is a terrific writer, and I have also read and enjoyed these three (I must remember to buy some of them in Swedish after Christmas), but I found the ending of the third very dramatic and un-Scandinavian.

  3. Asa Larsson’s The Savage Altar (Sun Storm under another title) was the first Scandinavian crime fiction I ever read only last year (because my local chain store accidentally bought some copies presumably wishing they’d bought some more james patterson instead) and I loved it and immediately started looking for more stuff like that instead of the mainstream stuff I’d been reading and found all of these wonderful book blogs discussing all sorts of authors I’d never heard of before and lo my entire reading life has been dramatically improved. So I have a soft spot for Ms Larsson which is why one of my post-Christmas reads will be THE BLACK PATH which I’ve been saving up as a treat.

  4. Seconded, Maxine. She is on my A+ List and one of the Scandinavian authors I most esteem. Like Alvtegen, she deserves to be much better known.

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