Petrona Remembered and a belated round-up

It has been a long time since I posted here; apologies. I will try to catch up with some reviews and commentary that has appeared since November. But first, I hope everyone who loves the genre will take note of Karen Meek’s post at EuroCrime, inviting contributions to Petrona Remembered.

I haven’t posted here since the sad news of Maxine Clarke’s death appeared at the FriendFeed room she created. Maxine was an editor and innovator at Nature, which is probably the most prestigious science journal being published today. It doesn’t rest on its laurels but has constantly explored new media, testing out innovative ways to communicate science. She was at the forefront of this work and transferred that know-how to building out the online potential for mystery lovers to connect and share. She was not only an active blogger, she encouraged others by responding to their blog posts and comments, letting us know about new technologies and new publications – and generally showing us all how to do it well.

She will be missed by all of us, but we are fortunate that some of her friends are doing something about it. An award for the best Scandinavian crime novel translated into English is being established in her name. (She was not only well-read in Scandinavian crime, she was one of its finest critics.)

More immediately, the Petrona Remembered site will collect via email contributions about mysteries we love, building a collection of book recommendations and celebrations. I can’t think of a better tribute. So . . . go do that now. I’ll wait.

You’re back? Okay, here are some reviews and bits of news about Scandinavian crime fiction from the past few months.

At my book discussion hangout, aptly named 4_mystery_addicts, our resident Finnish expert mentioned some upcoming translations: “Antti Tuomainen’s sci fi/crime novel The Healer will be published next year, as will be Pekka Hiltunen’s Cold Courage about two Finnish women living in London involved in crimes.” He also mentioned some authors who have yet to be translated, whose names I have added to the Wanted page.

In fact, there’s a review of Tuomainen’s The Healer in Metro which makes the dystopian eco-thriller sound quite good. “Tuomainen conjures up in spare, softly poetic prose the collapse of social order and human decency in the face of environmental havoc.”

Alan Bradley bemoans the decline of weather as a feature in Anglophone mysteries and wonders if that’s why Scandinavian crime is so popular – it’s literally chilling.

The New York Public Library’s blog offered a catalog of crime, Scandinavian-style.

Kristina Ohlsson’s Silenced gets a strong review in the Toronto Globe and Mail, where Margaret Cannon says the series “deserves to go on for a long time.”

The Witchita Eagle has a postive review of Jo Nebso’s Phantom, concluding “While “The Snowman” is creepy, and “The Leopard” a bit over-the-top, “Phantom” is a more balanced, surer effort.

There is, apparently, a good television series based on Arne Dahl’s series, according to International Noir Fiction. And while we are talking about the small screen, Karen Meek bring news that Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Department Q series is being produced in Denmark. Those Danes have been making some excellent television lately.

J. Kingston Pierce picks Helene Tursten’s latest translation, The Golden Calf as his Rap Sheet pick of the week. (I thought it was a very strong entry in the series, and have to get cracking on a review.)

Peter at the Nordic Book Blog reviews Helene Tursten’s Night Rounds, an earlier book in the series, and finds it “entertaining, suspenseful, and well-written” with one of his favorite heroines at its center.

Jose Ignacio Escribano reviews Pierced by Thomas Enger, finding it a a strong followup to the author’s first book. He recommends it highly in both English and Spanish. He also tips us off to the news that Anne Holt is ending the Stubo and Vik series, which makes me sad as I avoided it for ages (profilers! No!) and have found it amazingly good. On the other hand, the BBC is going to film a series based on her Hanne Wilhelmsen, so I should be too glum.

Kerrie in paradise reviews Camilla Ceder’s Babylon, which she found enjoyable but not particularly remarkable.

Norm at Crimescraps reviews Blessed are Those Who Thirst by Anne Holt and finds he’s ready to enjoy Nordic crime again. Though the novel is short, the characters are well-developed and intriguing. He’d grown jaded by too much gloomy sameness, but this recent translation of a 1994 novel hit the spot.

And I’ll leave it there for now. Don’t forget to submit your beloved mystery memories to Petrona Remembered.

7 thoughts on “Petrona Remembered and a belated round-up

  1. I keep reading passages in books and thinking “Oh I bet Maxine will/did like that bit…can’t wait to talk to her about it”…I suppose in time I will stop myself from going through that process but for now it is a painful but not unwelcome reminder…both of what is lost and to never take for granted the little joys of life…like knowing someone who almost always sees the world the same way you do.

    In danger of plunging off my own fiscal cliff this year I am living under a self-imposed book buying ban and so am relying on the library which, it turns out, doesn’t have nearly as much Scandinavian crime fiction as it ought to (Jo Nesbo and Stieg Larsson aside). But I did notice that The Healer is “being acquired” which usually means the book is due to be published within a month or so – I have put a hold on it as I am curious to see what a combination sci-fi/crime novel from that part of the world will look like. Hopefully not too Hollywoodish.

    • Barbara, thanks for this roundup and the mention.

      Bernadette has expressed my own thoughts beautifully. I keep reading through some of the hundreds of emails Maxine sent me over the years, and realise what a good friend we have all lost.

  2. All of these tributes to Maxine Clarke are so good and heart-warming. She was such a force in the world of crime fiction. Her reviews and comments were just so sharp and well-said.
    Even her remarks at Mystery Friend Feed were incisive and honest, while well-crafted and often witty.

    I used to check in at Petrona late by U.S. time and read what Maxine had written early in the morning in British time. I’d often write a comment and then check in when I awoke, only to read a
    reply written by Maxine in the early morning.

    That’s how I started my day as soon as I began reading that fantastic website.

    I just read Blessed Are Those Who Thirst, and Helene Thursten’s The Golden Calf. While poring over them, I kept thinking that Maxine would have enjoyed those books and then would have posted excellent reviews, leaving her blog fans eagerly looking for
    the books she recommended.

    I have lots of Maxine’s highly rated books on my TBR list, and for quite a long time as I go through that list, I will think of her.

  3. Thanks for the tribute to Maxine and the roundup — I’ve been on a Scandinavian crime fiction binge since the holidays and often wondered what I’ll do when I can’t check her reviews for new books.

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