a smallish smorgasbord

Steph Davies of Wheredunnit is blogging these days, and has just published an appreciation of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo’s Martin Beck series, which she reports holds up amazingly well. Previously she commented on the BBC Wallander series and wished she could join the throngs touring Wallander’s Ystad.

Maxine at Petrona makes me renew my resolve to read all of the Martin Beck series as she talks about the way the “main character” in many ways is in the background to the social panarama that takes the front stage. I’m thinking this is actually a common characteristic of Scandinavian crime fiction. Have to mull this over more . . .

Karen Meek at Euro Crime points out that Arnaldur Indridason’s Voices is set at Christmas time – though it might not be the cheeriest of stories, involving the sordid murder of a hotel Santa Claus with a long-held secret.

And Uriah at Crime Scraps says “Just when I had learned to spell Indridason along comes another fine Icelandic crime writer.” But he’s willing to add another name to his spelling skills – Yrsa Sigurdardottir, author of Last Rituals, which he recommends. And which I hope I haven’t misspelled.

And if you haven’t joined the Crime and Mystery Fiction room at FriendFeed – what are you waiting for? What a handy way to share links.

Bits and Pieces

Profmike reads Jo Nesbo’s Nemesis and pronounces it well worth the read. “What Jo Nesbo has also done – very cleverly, in my opinion  – is to introduce a larger, overarching narrative that spans across the series of Harry Hole novels. . . . This is writing that is far more complex that it at first seems, extremely readable, combining old-fashioned structures and the steady hand of the popular novelist with more contemporary perspectives and sensibilities.”

Becky, who reads A Book a Week, thinks Arnaldur Indridason has scored a hit. “I always like mysteries that are about something else besides the mystery. The Draining Lake is about a lot more than just who is the dead guy at the bottom of the lake. That’s why I think it’s the best Indriðason book I’ve read. He’s really hitting his stride as a mystery craftsman and as a novelist.”

Mark Rose at Bookasm thinks Johan Theorin’s Echoes from the Dead works very well and is a good example of the region’s crime fiction. “Some universal memes exist that seem to exemplify Scandinavian mystery fiction: They are all ineffably sad, they all seem to focus on domestic mysteries with crime close to home, there is a ton of self-contemplative navel gazing, and they’re not afraid to use less-than-glamorous characters as our main focal points.” (Hmm . . . one could also argue that Scandinavian mysteries are as likely to examine social issues as they are domestic crimes – if one can generalize at all. I wouldn’t say, for example, that Helene Tursten or Hakan Nesser write sad books . . .)

And finally . . . do you Facebook? Then join the new group, Fans of Scandinavian Crime Novels. And if you simply want to keep up with crime fiction from all over, check out the Crime and Mystery Fiction room at FriendFeed – thanks owed to Maxine Clarke for setting it up.