Kerrie of Mysteries in Paradise, who got a “Best Observer of All Things Mysterious” award kindly bestowed the favor on me by giving me a “Caring about Scandinavian Crime Fiction Award” – and has tagged me in a meme. My task is to name six values that are important to me, six qualities I can’t tolerate, and six bloggers who deserve awards. Even though memes have always seemed like some kind of benign Ponzi scheme, here goes – with a mysterious twist. I’ll focus on what I value and dislike in crime fiction.
Mysteries I value have:
- interesting observations about society,
- well-developed, fully-human characters,
- an interesting, well-paced plot that keeps me engaged,
- a vivid sense of place,
- a strong sense of justice that’s ruled by compassion,
- and writing that is graceful and expressive without being too self-conscious.
Things I can do without in mysteries:
- Serial killer stories in which women are stalked, tortured and killed in loving detail; we are not amused.
- Bad guys who are monsters; so far as I’m concerned, only human villains need apply.
- Bad guys who are insane; people who are mentally ill have enough problems, already.
- good guys who are beautiful/handsome, independently wealthy and drive really nice cars.
- books that seem too have been written while consulting a “how to write mysteries” book.
- books that pretend to delve into the heart of evil but are actually as fake as ketchup pretending to be blood
One of the reasons I find Scandinavian crime fiction so satisfying is that it seems anchored in real human emotions that play out in a genuine time and place. There’s no need to invent over-the-top monstrousness in a world where the ordinary cruelties we visit on one another are dramatic enough.
So here are my six awards:
- The “I’m Glad You Asked That” award goes to Peter Rozovsky of Detectives Beyond Borders
- The “Consistently High Quality Book Reviews” award goes to Ben at Material Witness
- The “Amazing Insights” award goes to Glenn Harper at International Noir Fiction
- The “Critical Perspicacity” award goes to Uriah at Crime Scraps
- The “Indispensable Source” award goes to BV Lawson of In Reference to Murder
- The “Friends who FriendFeed are Friends Indeed” award goes to Maxine of Petrona
Gott nytt År to all!