I guess it all depends on your perspective. Scandinavian crime fiction to me seems very solid, down-to-earth, and insightful about the everyday. But at least Joan Smith of the Times (London) thinks they’re good. In a round-up of five crime fiction novels set outside the UK, she includes Arnaldur Indridason, Henning Mankell, and Hakan Nesser. A sampling:
Iceland is famous for stunning scenery, collapsing banks and now a world-class crime writer called Arnaldur Indridason. His novels feature a detective who rivals Henning Mankell’s Inspector Wallander when it comes to gloomy introspection, but his plots and layering of past and present are hauntingly original. . . .
. . . The idea behind this collection of Wallander stories is brilliant but simple: it consists of Wallander’s earliest cases, beginning with a period in his life when he was still in uniform. . . . As well as filling in gaps in Wallander’s biography, the book reveals Mankell’s sense that something has gone wrong in Sweden’s model social democracy and identifies some of the causes of the malaise. . . .
The Mind’s Eye by Hakan Nesser (Macmillan £16.99, translated by Laurie Thompson) is a psychological thriller in a class of its own. . . . This stunning novel by one of Sweden’s foremost crime writers might have been written as a script for Alfred Hitchcock.
Also recommended: Teresa Solana’s A Not So Perfect Crime, Catherine Sampson’s The Slaughter Pavilion, Aly Monroe’s The Maze of Cadiz, and PJ Brooke’s Blood Wedding.
Wait, that’s more than five. So maybe five are exotic and . . . well, never mind. They all sound worth reading.