a conversation and some reviews

The CBC’s “Writers and Company” has a conversation with four interesting writers from different parts of the globe – from Italy, Gianrico Carofiglio; from Sweden, Asa Larsson; from Scotland, Louise Welsh; and closer to home, Canadian author Giles Blunt. It’s a podcast worth listening to as they bounce ideas off one another. Louise Welsh in particular does a good job of considering what makes crime fiction work.

Kerrie is kindly reposting reviews she wrote for Murder and Mayhem – including this one of Karin Fossum’s Black Seconds. As a bonus, she offers mini-reviews of several other books. And Glenn Harper takes note of Girl by the Lake, an Italian film version of Don’t Look Back, which looks awfully good. It was an excellent book, too – discussed at 4_mystery_addicts where the ambiguous bits gave us plenty to talk about. Fossum has a knack for  ending her books not with a bang, but a frisson. Rather than tie up all the ends neatly, in the last page or two she pulls one knot loose and leaves us wondering. And Glenn also leaves me thinking with this insightful comment in his analysis.

[There is] an essential, almost metafictional quality of the police procedural as a genre: storytelling is the subject and the medium of the form. Everyone in Girl by the Lake is telling a different story, and the police keep adapting their own version of the story as facts become known. The viewer (or reader) becomes tangled in all the stories, straight through to a final resolution (or approximation of a resolution).

That seems to touch a very fundamental piece of what happens as a mystery is solved. Stories are told, interpreted, unraveled, reworked . . . stories about stories, but also, thankfully, about interesting people and exciting events, since what is the use of metafiction without any people or events? to paraphrase Alice.

Dorte reviews Johann Theorin’s The Darkest Room and says he isn’t letting us down. Whew! That’s a relief. It’s also a relief to hear that the ghost story included does not cross its wires with the mystery; the author doesn’t take a shortcut with a supernatural solution .

And Peter reviews The Island of the Naked Women by Inger Frimansson which, despite its title, is not about hedonism. It’s a study of family dynamics, isolation, and psychological torment. He recommends it as a dark, suspenseful book with “strange dynamics and lots of tension.”

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