Swedish Book Review: Crime Fiction Special part 2

DodsmassaAs well as an essay and several excerpts from as-yet untranslated books by Kerstin Ekman, the 2010:1 issue of Swedish Book Review features other crime-fiction authors who are not known to readers reliant on the English language: Arne Dahl, Staffan Bruun and Viveca Sten. Readers are introduced to these authors by translations of excerpts from their novels.

Arne Dahl is the crime-fiction pseudonym of Jan Arnald, an author, critic and literary magazine editor. As Arne Dahl, Arnald has written a series of ten free-standing novels about 'the A team', elite crime fighters who presumably have nothing to do with George Peppard or Liam Neeson. From the author's website:  "The Intercrime series of ten books is now complete. They are unusual crime novels, hardcore thrillers with a literary touch and a mastery of style, with a good sense of humour, an unprecedented depth of character and an urge to plunge deep into the social problems of contemporary Europe." (Incidentally, if you read the Swedish website and 
Mysterioso  use Google translate, the author is female; if you read the (different) English-language website, the author is male. There is a picture of the author on the Swedish website which clarifies this matter!)

The first in this series is called Misterioso (1999). It has been translated into English by Tiina Nunnally and will be published in the USA by Pantheon, according to Laurie Thompson in the Swedish Book Review. Another book in the series is Requiem (Dodsmassa), first published in 2004. It was a bestseller in Sweden and won the prestigious Deutscher Krimi Prieis in 2005. Laurie Thompson has translated an extract from the novel which is reproduced in the Swedish Book Review, pp 41-45. (From the looks of it, he's translated the whole book, so let us hope that someone publishes it in English)

From the author's website, there now seems to be an eleventh novel in the series, and rumours that there is a twelfth that in some way might also be the first! There are clues on the site, if anyone is motivated to try them out (ideally not using the Google translated text).


Struggling Love Staffan Bruun
Staffan Bruun
has been a crime reporter and newspaper editor as well as producer of satirical radio programmes. His crime novels (1992 – 2008) are inspired by contemporary international underworld activities and feature a Finnish-Swedish journalist called Burt Kobbat. The ninth in this series, Struggling Love, was reviewed in the previous issue of Swedish Book Review (2009:2, pp 43-44). It involves murders, death threats, a long-lost Paul McCartney recording and the premiere of a Disney film. In the Crime Fiction Special issue, Anna-Lisa and Martin Murrell present a translation of an extract (pp 47-50), introducing a suspect called Owen Thunder, an 82-year-old retired pastor who lives in a mansion outside Birmingham, Alabama.

Viveca Sten has had a highly successful legal career and now writes crime novels set in the Stockholm archipelago on the island of Sandhamn, a tiny island of 120 
Still waters  inhabitants but invaded by tourists in the summer – and where evil lurks under the surface, according to Marlaine Delargy. Viveca Sten has written three crime novels, Still Waters (2008), Closed Circles (2009) and Guiltless Shallows (2010). Marlaine Delargy has translated an extract (pp 52-62)  of the first of these novels, which introduces Detective Inspector Thomas Andreasson and his childhood friend Nora Linde, now a lawyer. From the rest of the description of the novel and the extract, this is an author I most definitely want to read. 

From the author's website (using Google translate): "It's a hot July morning in Sandhamn in the Stockholm archipelago. A man's body wrapped in a fishing net floats ashore on the island's western shore. A week later, a woman is found brutally murdered on the island and Thomas Andreasson from Nacka police may take the case. 
the clues are few. What was the dead of related Sandhamn? What is the missing link? Tormented by the loss of his newborn daughter and a wrecked marriage, Thomas throws himself into the investigation. To help, he has childhood friend Nora Linde, which is a holiday house on the island. A murderer is loose in the summer idyll and the pressure on the police is ever increasing. They must quickly find the culprit before more lives are lost … "

See: Swedish Book Review: Crime Fiction Special part 1, Kerstin Ekman.

8 thoughts on “Swedish Book Review: Crime Fiction Special part 2

  1. Maxine – Thanks for sharing this. I really must get this magazine, as I am woefully under-read on lesser-known Swedish crime fiction authors. This is really helpful stuff!

  2. Maxine we are missing out on so many books, it is a pity those Scandinavian languages are so difficult to learn. ;o)

  3. Oh, this is good news! Now I can reread Arne Dahl´s series and review them when they come out in English. I think you will like the series and many of the characters.

  4. Thank you very much, everyone, this was a nice post to write and I only hope we don’t have to wait too long for the translations (into English or Spanish!).

  5. Arne Dahl books have been awaiting English translations for years, so I’m glad to hear Misterioso is finally due to be released.
    I love his books – I’ve read 8 (I think?) in German, so I can’t clarify what happens around 11, except that the my fragmentary Swedish leads me to believe that the prequel aspect is a couple of centuries earlier. Dorte? And that book twelve was, as of last November, still bein written.
    In any case, the characters are great, even if there have private lives that I find hard to believe sometimes. (*cough* Kerstin’s family situation *cough*) Anyway, highly recommended.
    Bizarrely, I have the first Viveca Sten book on pre-order as a present for a friend (it’s due out in German next week), but after this recommendation I might have to keep it myself!
    And the last Wallander novel is also out here (lucky I moved to Germany for a job, or the crime fiction would drive me into bankruptcy), and I have 20-odd euros burning a hole in my pocket to be spent on it tomorrow. Will carefully avoiding spoiling anyone though.
    Staffan Bruun is new to me – apparently my usual sources have failed me and he’s not been translated into German. I am slightly allergic to journalist main characters though. (Perhaps because I have a couple of friends in that line of work and they never have anything to do with murders!)

    I would love to learn Danish or Swedish properly, since I spend a lot of my time working with languages, but given my current location, polishing my really rusty Dutch would be more logical…(unfortunately, I’m not an enormous fan of much Dutch crime fiction!)

  6. Thanks for the comment, Lauren. Drop back and let us know what you thought of these books when you have read them (or tell us at Friend Feed http://friendfeed.com/crime-and-mystery-fiction). I’m most looking forward to the Viveca Stern one(s), of these. I suppose the idea of embarking on a 11 or 12-book series while waiting for each volume to be translated or even not, is a bit daunting. It’s a frustratingly slow process with Hakan Nesser for example – the 5th of 10 is about to come out in English, and he wrote them over 10 years ago now.

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