Book reviews by country: Sweden

For my series this summer, I am providing selections of book reviews by country. Either the author is from the country named in the post, or the book is set there.

is a big favourite of mine: I have 37 archived reviews of books from this region, and probably a few more on Euro Crime. They start, properly, with Roseanna, the first of the magnificent ten-book classic series by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (various translators). I have so far read and reviewed nine of these, saving up the tenth one because it is the last.

Following in the footsteps of these authors, I've read and reviewed some of the Kurt Wallendar series by Henning Mankell (various translators), though most of these novels I read as they were translated (out of series order, annoyingly) some years before I had ever heard of blogging, or of Sjowall and Wahloo, so have not written up reviews of them. Most recently, I enjoyed this author's non-series novel The Man From Beijing.

There are several other Swedish authors who are serious favourites of mine. Asa Larsson, whose books Sun Storm, The Blood Spilt, and The Black Path are darkly excellent and wonderfully translated by Marlaine Delargy. There are three more to go in this series. Helene Tursten writes about the admirable Detective Inspector Huss (followed by The Torso and The Glass Devil), various translators. I am hoping so much the rest of her books will be translated into English.

Karin Alvtegen is another huge favourite: her (non-series) novels Missing, Betrayal, Shadow and Shame (Anna Paterson and Steve Murray have translated these) are totally my kind of book. Kjell Ericksson and Ake Edwardson write solid police procedural series set in Uppsala and Gothenberg, respectively. And on the islands, Johan Theorin is a wonderfully talented author whose novels are set on the island of Oland. Echoes from the Dead is a marvellous debut, and The Darkest Room deservedly won the 2010 CWA International Dagger. The translator, again, is the excellent Marlaine Delargy. The nearby island of Gotland is the scene of the novels by Mari Jungstedt (translator Tiina Nunnally), a nice mix of police procedural, journalism and romance.

One cannot mention Sweden, of course, without the magnificent Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. I've reviewed all three novels (ably translated by Reg Keeland) and am thrilled at the amazing success that they are now enjoying.

Add to this array of talent the novels of Inger Frimansson (Good Night, My Darling, The Shadow in the Water, and Island of the Naked Women); Hakan Nesser (the highly enjoyable if often bleak ten-book Inspector Van Veeteren series set somewhere that seems suspiciously like Holland to me); Camilla Lackberg (translator Steve Murray); and the duo Roslund-Hellstrom, and it begins to become apparent why I spend so much time in this neck of the woods.

My Swedish reviews.

3 thoughts on “Book reviews by country: Sweden

  1. Love the Sjowall/Wahloo series, read 3, will read the rest; like your reviews a lot.
    Love the Larsson Millennium series, enjoy all of Helen Thurston’s books–would read any by her. Liked Kjell Eriksson’s “The Demon of Dakar” the best, then “the Princess of Burundi,” the third not so much. But I want the other books in the Ann Lindell series to be published in English. I’m warming up to Hakan Nesser, having read “Woman with Birthmark,” but will read “Mind’s Eye” very soon thanks to your referral. Asa Larsson I’m fine with except the violent endings, first to her main character, now to lots of others. I hid under the dining room table to avoid the gunfire. Not so cool on the one book by Karen Alvetegen but will try one more. I will try the books of Mari Jungstedt and of Ingrid Frimidson. And I loved “The Man from Beijing,” my only read by Manning.

  2. The Wallender books by Mankell are very different from The Man From Beijing, Kathy – and if you haven’t read them you can actually read them in order, unlike me (I read them as they were translated) which will be a big plus. First one is The Faceless Killers.

  3. I find Kurt Wallender to be too much of a depressed character to read. Although Erlander in Indridason’s books is somewhat down and many Nordic detectives, to a friend and I, Wallender is too down. But I will try a few others and I have my eye on a few stand-alones by Manning including “Kennedy’s Brain.” I like and respect him as a person and an author so will try more titles by him. (FYI: Since reading this blog, EuroCrime, Reactions to Reading, Detectives Beyond Borders, I am keeping a TBR list in two rooms and one in my daily planner; they reproduce like rabbits.)

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