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19 july 2017

Millions of foreign readers have been delighted by Scandinavian mystery stories over the past two decades, but few of them, perhaps, have given much thought to the political and social aspects of their Krimis. In Scandinavian Crime Fiction, Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen signs onto the critical consensus that finds "Nordic Noir" chock-a-block with political significance. Joining a chorus of voices that includes Michael Tapper (Swedish Cops, 2014) and the authors in Scandinavian Crime Fiction (eds. Nestingen & Arvas, 2011), Stougaard-Nielsen brings new works under study and challenges some received opinions. Both solidly academic and highly accessible, Stougaard-Nielsen's book should prove a standard reference point for critics of contemporary crime fiction, and a way into the complexities of its contexts for the general reader.     read more

16 july 2017

I read The Flatey Enigma by Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson last fall, for my website cid, on detective-inspector novels. But Viktor Arnar's book is only obliquely a detective-inspector novel – only partially a police procedural at all. Still, Viktor Arnar's work shares themes with novels by Arnaldur Indriðason and Ragnar Jónasson. And The Flatey Enigma does follow a police investigation, with legwork and forensics and the interactions of an ad hoc team of detectives.     read more

12 july 2017

Polt muß weinen means "Polt must weep" or, more colloquially, "Polt has to cry." The hero of Alfred Komarek's novel, Polt, indeed has occasion to weep. But the novel is also all about wine and wine-making, and in German "wine" is Wein, edging the title close to a pun. But there is no pun in German (that I know of) like the English wine/whine, and German does not have a verb to match the one in the English phrase "wine and dine." Komarek nevertheless chooses a title that allows for poetic associations between wine and weeping.     read more

18 june 2017

I'm three years behind on reading Michael Connelly. I don't buy his books new; as I've probably said here several times before, I wait till I see them in thrift stores, but they get there slowly and unreliably, particularly now in the age of the e-book. For all I know, Harry Bosch is now uncomfortably not-enjoying a well-earned retirement. But in The Burning Room, he is consciously approaching the end of his career, and actively training his replacement.     read more