Scandinavian mystery novels are hot with readers

Karin Fossum is one of Norways most well-known writers of crime fiction.

Karin Fossum is one of Norway's most well-known writers of crime fiction.

It is a world of bleak twilights and tortured souls. A world of cold dawns and dour sleuths. A world of frozen lakes and repressed detectives. A world of winters and losers.  Yet as grim, glum and downright depressing as a Scandinavian setting for a mystery novel can be, something remarkable is afoot: Such novels continue to be fabulously popular in the United States and internationally.

In the next few months, major new whodunits set in places such as Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland will be released, including “The Man From Beijing” (Knopf) by Swedish literary star Henning Mankell, set primarily in his native land; “Snow Angels” (Putnam) by James Thompson, an American who has lived in Finland for almost a dozen years, set near the Arctic Circle; and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest” (Knopf), by the late Stieg Larsson, the third of his mysteries featuring the Swedish spitfire Lisbeth Salander. The initial Salander novel, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” first published in the U.S. in 2008, has sold more than 20 million copies in 41 countries.

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