Marilyn Stasio’s comments on the Branagh Wallander (including Branagh’s comments on his version of Wallander and some quotes from Mankell hismelf) are interesting.
Mr. Branagh admires the mournful cops in Swedish, Icelandic and Norwegian crime novels for tackling the big social problems that globalization has created in their countries and in other supposedly stable governments around the world. “The Wallander novels are a sort of requiem for a lost utopia, for the lost innocence of Sweden,” Mr. Branagh said in a phone interview. “Using Sweden as his inspiration he writes of the larger loss of innocence for a world that is expanding in so many ways, but is unhappier than ever.”
The Brothers Judd recommend the original Swedish television series – and, while they’re at it, the original Norwegian film Insomnia. (I totally agree with that recommendation.)
Reading Matters reviews Camilla Lackberg’s The Preacher, finding it generally well-done, though the domestic stuff gets a bit cloying at time (and at 400+ pages could have been trimmed).
Maxine has no reservations about recommending Hakan Nesser’s Mind’s Eye: “The plot is simple yet powerful; elemental themes are involved; there is lots of droll humour and neat touches; the solution is satisfying; and one is left hoping for more.”
Norm (aka Uriah) of Crime Scraps also likes Nesser’s The Return. I like the way he blends the very black humour into the police procedural format, and that reminds me a lot of the Martin Beck series.”
There’s a brief review in the Times of Nesser’s Woman With Birthmark as well – hat tip to Maxine for the link. “The laconic, cynical Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is in the general mould of Northern European coppers, though not as troubled as many . . . A novel with superior plot and characters.”
And finally, DJ reviews Helene Tursten’s The Man With the Little Face – which she thinks is good so long as it stays in Sweden; the action moving to Spain is less plausible. Sadly, it hasn’t been translated into English and may not be now that Soho has dropped Tursten from their list.