Odds & Ends

Karen Meek points out a double interview by Auntie Beeb of Henning Mankell and Kenneth Branagh, the British actor whose portrayal of Kurt Wallander will begin running in the UK on November 30th. (North America: eat your heart out.)

The filming was done in Sweden. According to Branagh, “It is absolutely right that we came to shoot in Sweden as they have a different relationship to the landscape. People are much more aware of what the environment can do to you in sometimes a bleakish landscape and in that kind of atmosphere it is a really good place for drama.”

Mankell says of the setting, “The town of Ystad, where my books are set, is like the Texas of Sweden, in that it runs along the border. I feel that in border countries there is a special dynamism that I use in my stories.”

I am late in linking to the news that was posted to Crime Scraps when it was hot off the press. Uriah lists the nominees for the annual mystery prizes in Sweden. Among them are some names familiar to English-speaking audiences: Asa Larsson and Johan Theorin. Less familiar are Arne Dahl and Elisabeth Gilek. Up for the Martin Beck award are John LeCarre, Deon Myer, Maria Schenkel, and Peter Temple.

Uriah also recaps a lively Stieg Larsson debate that has been bubbling in the cauldrons of 4MA. Ali and Norm may not see eye to eye on Larsson, but at least agree on the brilliance of Arnaldur Indridason and Johan Theorin.

And at the WaPo, Maureen Corrigan reviews Arnaldur’s The Draining Lake – and says, apropos of Dave Zelterzman’s new book,

I don’t know about you, but with the world in financial free fall I don’t feel like reading comic mysteries or cozies or even espionage thrillers. I don’t want escapism. I long to immerse myself in literature that captures the all-encompassing anxiety of the times. There’s only one type of mystery that fits that profile, and that’s crime noir: the jittery genre, born during the Great Depression, about saps and grifters who ain’t gotta barrel of money and just can’t get a break; the genre about a world gone wrong and the greedy bumblers who made it so.

And she wonders, as many of us have done, whether Iceland’s financial disaster will provide a plot for Inspector Erlendur. In a sense, he already has commented on it. Before the fall, he viewed Iceland’s new wealth with suspicion and was unhappy with the way all that money was distorting traditional Icelandic values. I’m sure the banks’ comeuppance will provide the gloomy detective with a small “I told you so” pleasure.

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