humor and the Scandinavian mystery

Karen Meek has a review of Hakan Nesser’s The Mind’s Eye – the first in the Van Veteeren series, but the third to be translated – at Euro Crime and points out that it’s not only slightly surreal, thanks to its fictional bouillabaisse of a setting that incorporates bits of several northern European countries, but it’s also great fun. “You can dip into almost any page and a line will make you smile.”

Often Scandinavian crime fiction is characterized as being dour and gloomy, but as Peter Rozovsky pointed out in an issue of Mystery Reader’s Journal devoted to Scandinavian crime fiction, it’s not entirely without humor. And Nesser is his exhibit A.

He also cites a scene opening Arnaldur Indridason’s Silence of the Grave in which a young medical student realizes that the object a baby is chewing on is a human bone. (Okay, it doesn’t seem all that funny – you had to be there.)

Also new on Euro Crime is Maxine Clarke’s review of Arnaldur’s The Draining Lake – and she picks up on the humorous interplay among the detectives, the smug Sigurd Oli and the self-absorbed Elinborg, all caught up in publishing a cook book while they investigate a murder from the past.

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2 thoughts on “humor and the Scandinavian mystery

  1. I agree. Another review up at Euro Crime this week is mine of The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason. Although the book has a tragic theme, the political satire made me laugh out loud.

    The Maj Sjowall/Per Wahloo “Martin Beck” series is also very funny — I read books 4 and 5 on holiday. I like a book where the humour is based on “shared recognition” between the author and reader.

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