…and more links

PBS highlights international crime fiction with a rather sophisticated site – Both Karin Fossum (Norway) and Arnaldur Indridason are featured.

Glenn Harper reviews Yrsa Sigurdardóttir’s My Soul to Take – and wonders which is the better cover at representing the Icelandic setting. He prefers Arnaldur’s series, but says this second book in the Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series “revisits the Gothic realm and revivals of myth in contemporary life, but in a lighter, frequently comic, and rural vein.”

He also says “I’m hoping that Árni Thórarinsson’s urban noir novels, very succesful in Europe, will soon make their way into English.” Fingers crossed.

Peter reviews Henning Mankell’s One Step Behind at Nordic Bookblog.

Shaz wonders (toward the bottom of this Dead Guy post) “Are there any humorous Scandinavian crime novels? If not, would someone like to remedy the situation to save what’s left of my sanity?” No worries, Sharon – there’s plenty of humor in there. Just ask Peter Rozovsky. He has some insightful things to say in a 2007 interview with Julia Buckley:

I do notice a common theme of sympathy in the work of Swedish crime writers, a concern for investigators, criminals, suspects and friends, relatives and lovers of all the above. Håkan Nesser shares that sympathy and also the proverbial Swedish concern for social justice. His novels also have a playful sense of humor, which is probably not a generalization many people would make about Swedish crime fiction.

Michael Walters writes about Jo Nesbo’s excellent series featuring the complicated hero, Harry Hole. Walters comments on the translations (by Don Bartlett, who recently spoke at CrimeFest and caused a bit of swooning in the audience), their out-of-order publication in English, and Harry’s “dry-as-dust, sometimes bitter irony.”

humor and the Scandinavian mystery

Karen Meek has a review of Hakan Nesser’s The Mind’s Eye – the first in the Van Veteeren series, but the third to be translated – at Euro Crime and points out that it’s not only slightly surreal, thanks to its fictional bouillabaisse of a setting that incorporates bits of several northern European countries, but it’s also great fun. “You can dip into almost any page and a line will make you smile.”

Often Scandinavian crime fiction is characterized as being dour and gloomy, but as Peter Rozovsky pointed out in an issue of Mystery Reader’s Journal devoted to Scandinavian crime fiction, it’s not entirely without humor. And Nesser is his exhibit A.

He also cites a scene opening Arnaldur Indridason’s Silence of the Grave in which a young medical student realizes that the object a baby is chewing on is a human bone. (Okay, it doesn’t seem all that funny – you had to be there.)

Also new on Euro Crime is Maxine Clarke’s review of Arnaldur’s The Draining Lake – and she picks up on the humorous interplay among the detectives, the smug Sigurd Oli and the self-absorbed Elinborg, all caught up in publishing a cook book while they investigate a murder from the past.