Every month the Bookseller provides a list of the bestsellers in the previous month in some European countries. This time (9 April issue) it is the turn of Germany, Sweden, Spain and France. Crime isn't featuring too much in the German lists for March, with the only top-10 entries being Ausgelöscht (Abandoned) by Corey McFadyen at number 3 and Todesspiele (Kill for Me) by Karen Rose at 9. The rest do not look to me as if they are crime fiction.
In Sweden, however, it is a different story, with the eagerly awaited (by me) Postcard Killers (Swedish title) by Liza Marklund and A. N. Other (forgotten his name;-) ) at number 1. Also in the top ten are Kniven i hjartat (The Knife in the Heart) by B Ranelid (4), Alfahannen (The Alpha Male) by Katarina Wennstrom (5), Den förlorade symbolen (no translation necessary) by some guy or other (6), Gatans Iag (The Brass Verdict) by Michael Connelly (7), Dödsmässa (Midnight Fugue) by Reginald Hill (8), Oroligh blod (Blood's a Rover) by J Ellroy (9) and Tedags for normalt.….(!) (Tea Time for the
….[which I fill in as] the Traditionally Built] by Alexander McCall Smith (10). Can you imagine the UK top-10 chart with 6 titles originally written in other languages, and a total of 8 crime-fiction titles?
Moving to Spain, the only two non-Spanish-language titles in March's top 10 are Sangre derramada (The Blood Spilt, Swedish) by Asa Larsson (9) and El simbolo perdido (who was that author again?) at 10. The previous eight, from what I can tell, don't seem to be crime fiction, although number 1, El asedio (The Siege) by A Pérez-Reverte is by a man sometimes (incorrectly?) classified as a crime author.
In France, number one is Sans lassier d'adresse , translated in the chart as With No Address to Follow (!)* by Harlan Coben. Apart from that, the only crime novel in the list seems to be Le symbole perdu (er….), at 7.
Of course, these lists don't mean very much as they are determined to some extent by when novels are translated into the languages concerned. I'm quite struck, though, by how many bestselling novels in these countries are translated, compared with similar charts in the US and UK (what about Australia and New Zealand, both English-language charts but which I don't usually see each week?).
I can't imagine anything like the Swedish list in the UK. Here, all three novels by Stieg Larsson are currently riding very high (the third having just come out in paperback and the film of the first on general release a month or so ago) – but there are no other translated novels in the top 50.
*Actual US/UK title: Long Lost.