New Year crime fiction treats from Denmark, England, Finland, France, Iceland, Norway and Sweden

Happy New Year to you all!

I hope that 2017 has started well and that you have lots of lovely crime fiction lined up as we move into a new reading year.

One of the truly splendid things about a crime blogger’s life is being sent lots of fantastic books. The picture below shows my postbag for the last month, which contains some mouth-watering delights.


As these crime novels come from a variety of publishers, it’s interesting to see how the contents of individual parcels combine. Quite a number in this consignment are entries for the 2017 Petrona Award, which I help to judge along with Barry Forshaw, Sarah Ward and Karen Meek. This explains the high ratio of Scandi crime, including novels by Norwegian crime writing stars Anne Holt (special guest at last year’s CrimeFest) and Karin Fossum. The latter’s ‘Inspector Sejer’ novel The Drowned Boy (Harvill Secker, tr. Kari Dickson) was shortlisted for the 2016 Petrona Award.

Another Petrona entry that’s particularly caught my eye is Finnish author Kjell Westö’s The Wednesday Club (MacLehose, tr. Neil Smith). This novel originally appeared in Swedish (one of Finland’s official languages), is set in Helsinki in 1938, and explores the legacy of the Finnish Civil War. Two of the other novels are set around that time as well (both from Harvill Secker): Danish author Simon Pasternak’s Death Zones (tr. Martin Aitkin / Belorussia in 1943) and Arnaldur Indriðason’s The Shadow District (tr. Victoria Cribb / wartime Reykjavík). The latter is a proof copy and a very exciting bit of post, as it marks the beginning of a new series from this outstanding author (pub. April 2017).

Ragnar Jónasson’s Rupture (Orenda, tr. Quentin Bates), the latest in the ‘Dark Iceland’ series, is also one I’m very much looking forward to reading: it features a cold case from 1955, which sounds right up my street. Other delights include the latest Eva Dolan and Fred Vargas novels (Harvill Secker), Watch Her Disappear and A Climate of Fear (tr. Siân Reynolds). Both Dolan and Vargas are excellent writers, albeit with extremely different styles and authorial concerns.

Lastly, there’s been quite a lot of talk about Erik Axl Sund’s The Crow Girl (Harvill Secker, tr. Neil Smith). It features a highly unusual female protagonist and is definitely not going to be a boring read…

So, that lot’s going to keep me busy for a while.

Which crime novels are you particularly looking forward to reading in January? 

18 thoughts on “New Year crime fiction treats from Denmark, England, Finland, France, Iceland, Norway and Sweden

  1. Plenty of temptation here, Mrs. P! I’m especially interested in the Arnaldur Indriðason and the Karin Fossum. But it’s difficult, because the others look quite tempting, too…. Not good for those whose new year resolutions include lowering that TBR 😉

    • Indeed! That’s one resolution I don’t think any of us can hold to. So much temptation out there, and I’m perfectly happy to succumb at the moment 😀

  2. Ah, you’re in for a treat with Eva Dolan, Ragnar Jonasson and Fred Vargas – I enjoyed all three of them very much! And now you’ve tempted me with Karin Fossum and Simon Pasternak…

  3. Ooh, what a lovely haul – and a new Indriðason – one of my very favourite authors! I have just bought Andrea Camilleri’s Montalbano short stories – a real treat – and am looking forward to reading that.
    Happy New Year, Mrs P.

  4. Pingback: New Year crime fiction treats from Denmark, England, Finland, France, Iceland, Norway and Sweden | picardykatt's Blog

  5. Mmmm another mouth watering selection, thank you Mrs P, you’re an angel. I was amused by my phone auto-correcting Kjell Westö’s name to Kjell Western-Super-Mare. That might be a somewhat different book…

  6. Glad you mentioned ‘the Wednesday club’ been meaning to read it since I read a review of it in the ‘Literary Review’ last year, gave it a very good review, LR is very good for a monthly look at crime, spy etc books. Look forward to the new Indrioason. Hope the new Jonassonn is better than the last one, really unimpressed, his first one was excellent, got a long way to go before he is up to indrioason standards, despite claims to the contrary!

    • Hello Brian – a very Happy New Year to you!

      By coincidence, The Wednesday Club is the one I’ve picked to read first. I’m about a quarter of the way through and really enjoying it. I know very little about Finland’s early history and how it fits into the bigger picture of European history, so it’s all very interesting – and very moreish too.

      One of the things I like most about the Jonasson series is its unusual setting. Most of the Icelandic crime I’ve read has been based in Reykjavik, so it’s fascinating to read about life in a much smaller community in the far north. I’m looking forward to Rupture in particular because it features a cold case (love those). Agree that it’s a tall order to top Indridason.

      I hadn’t realised that LR had such a strong crime profile. Thanks – will check it out.

  7. Well, Happy New Year to you and thanks for this blog. I can see you’re off to a good start with a slew of good books.
    When asked by relatives and friends about gift ideas, I hinted (promoted) the Eva Dolan and Fred Vargas books
    you mention (love these writers), and also Kati Hiekkapelto’s third book, “The Exiled.” Santa delivered.
    I’m finishing up two books so I can start on Margot Kinberg’s “Past Tense,” which I promised myself would
    be my first new read of 2017. Then on to the others and “Sunrise Noir,” a collection of short stories — criminal, of course.
    I hope to see comments by you about “Rupture” and “The Shadow District,”
    I am intrigued by Arnaldur Indridasson starting a new series, and want to hear about it.
    No matter what I pledge to read, like noncriminal fiction and some nonfiction, I end up amidst crime. What can
    I do? It’s like a magnetic attraction.
    But I did read three books nominated for the Bailey Women Writers’ Prize and I’m glad I did, as well as a
    few others and I hope to read some other fiction this year, despite murder being a very enticing subject.
    With all the craziness in the political sphere, it’s just wonderful to settle down with a good mystery,
    tea and biscuits or chocolate. It’s the healthiest distraction one can find.

    • Happy New Year, kathyd! Very pleased to hear that Santa was so responsive to your hints. It sounds like you have a fine selection of crime novels lined up to keep you going for the next few weeks. And some respite crime as required with tea and biscuits sounds like an excellent idea (especially around the 20th of this month).

      I agree with you about the magnetic attraction of the crime genre. I’m trying the odd other thing (e.g. Daniel Levitin’s The Organised Mind), but mainly because I listen to books while knitting and need something that isn’t going to put the rest of the household off its food.

      Wishing you lots of happy reading x

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