I am always pleased to see that the two “most viewed” posts here at Petrona each week continue to be the two short reviews I wrote last year about Norwegian and Swedish crime fiction. I am so glad that people are interested in books from these regions and, it is to be hoped, go on to read some of them. My posts, of course, are brief, so potential readers are only getting a small snapshot from them.
Help for them is now at hand. Barry Forshaw, the UK’s main expert on crime fiction, has written a book called Death in a Cold Climate: a guide to Scandinavian crime fiction (Palgrave, 2012). I was very kindly sent a copy by the publisher, Palgrave, and have recently reviewed the book at Euro Crime . From my review:
DEATH IN A COLD CLIMATE is the perfect book for those who have sampled and enjoyed a little Scandinavian crime in fictional form – Stieg Larsson, perhaps, or Jo Nesbo – and who want to find out what more the region has to offer. Barry Forshaw is the best-known “talking head” in the UK on crime fiction, and here he provides a short monograph which takes the reader on a whistle-stop tour round Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Finland, showcasing mostly authors who are writing today, but mentioning a few older names in the process.
Many excellent authors are discussed in this book, not only by Barry Forshaw but in informative, substantial excerpts by the book’s authors and translators. It is truly fascinating to read Sarah Death, Don Bartlett, Marlaine Delargy, Laurie Thompson and others in their own words, on how they go about their work and how they make the end product read as authentically as possible.
I highly recommend this book as a good summary of the output of some of the main authors writing today in the Nordic countries. The contents provide an effective introduction to many authors, so will probably be enjoyed more by those who have not read many of their books, rather than by those who are already very familiar with them.
For comprehensive bibliographies, in written order (rather than translated order, which is often very different, unfortunately), I recommend the Euro Crime database. Links to the Nordic countries are here: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Crime Scraps Review on the reasons for the success of Nordic crime fiction.
Other reviews of Death in a Cold Climate: The Independent (by translator Anna Paterson), Financial Times (by author Mons Kallentoft), Bookgeeks (Mike Stafford), and Martin Edwards. There are two knowledgeable reviews on Amazon that I enjoyed, by Brian J. Cox and Simon Clarke.
Shotsmag Confidential: Barry Forshaw on “becoming an authority” on Scandinavian crime fiction.