Back in June 2016 I posted a list of 35 European crime novels I loved. Here’s a slightly updated version with 46 European crime novels.
I’ve included some British crime novels, because at the time of posting – and until 11.00pm on 31 January 2020 – the UK is still officially part of the EU.
It may take a while, but I firmly believe we will rejoin one day.
Jakob Arjouni, Happy Birthday, Turk! (trans. from German by Anselm Hollo, Melville House 2011 )
Belinda Bauer, Rubbernecker (Wales, UK; Black Swan 2014)
Pieke Biermann, Violetta (trans. from German by Ines Rieder and Jill Hannum, Serpent’s Tail 1996 )
Ioanna Bourazopoulou, What Lot’s Wife Saw (trans. from Greek by Yiannis Panas, Black & White Publishing 2013 )
Jan Costin Wagner, Silence (Germany/Finland; trans. from German by Anthea Bell, Harvill Secker 2010 )
Didier Daeninckx, Murder in Memoriam (trans. from French by Liz Heron, Serpent’s Tail 1991 ; republished by Melville House in 2012)
Friedrich Dürrenmatt, The Pledge (Swiss; trans. from German by Joel Agee, University of Chicago Press 2006 )
Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose (trans. from Italian by William Weaver, Vintage 2004 )
Hans Fallada, Alone in Berlin (trans. from German by Michael Hofmann, Penguin 2009 )
Eugenio Fuentes, At Close Quarters (trans. from Spanish by Martin Schifino, Arcadia 2009 )
Friedrich Glauser, In Matto’s Realm (Swiss; trans. from German by Mike Mitchell, Bitter Lemon Press 2006 )
Petra Hammesfahr, The Sinner (trans. from German by John Brownjohn, Bitter Lemon Press 2007 )
Kati Hiekkapelto, The Defenceless (trans. from Finnish by David Hackston, Orenda Books 2015 )
Paulus Hochgatterer, The Sweetness of Life (Austria; trans. from German by Jamie Bulloch, MacLehose 2012 )
Peter Høeg, Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow (trans. from Danish by Felicity David, Vintage 2014 )
Francis Iles, Before the Fact (UK; Arcturus 2011 )
Jean-Claude Izzo, Total Chaos (trans. from French by Howard Curtis, Europa Editions 2005 )
Jess Kidd, Himself (Ireland; Canongate 2017)
Hans Hellmut Kirst, The Night of the Generals (trans. from German by J. Maxwell Brownjohn, Cassell 2002 )
Elisabeth Herrmann, The Cleaner (trans. from German by Bradley Schmidt, Manilla 2017)
Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (trans. from Swedish by Reg Keeland, MacLehose Press 2008 )
John le Carré, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (UK; Sceptre 2011 )
Carlo Lucarelli, Carte Blanche (trans. from Italian by Michael Reynolds, Europa Editions 2006 )
Henning Mankell, The Dogs of Riga (trans. from Swedish by Laurie Taylor, Vintage 2012 )
Dominique Manotti, Affairs of State (trans. from French by Ros Schwarz and Amanda Hopkinson, Arcadia Books 2009 )
Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Buenos Aires Quintet (trans. from Spanish by Nick Calstor, Serpent’s Tail 2005)
Denise Mina, Garnethill (Scotland, UK; Orion 2014)
Harry Mulisch, The Assault (trans. from Dutch by Clare Nicolas White, Random House 1985 )
Håkan Nesser, Bjorkman’s Point (trans. from Swedish by Laurie Thompson, Pan 2007 )
Ingrid Noll, The Pharmacist (trans. from German by Ian Mitchell, HarperCollins 1999 )
David Peace, 1974 (UK; Serpent’s Tail 1999 – the first in the ‘Red Riding’ quartet)
Lief G.W. Persson, Linda, as in the Linda Murder (trans. from Swedish by Neil Smith, Vintage 2013)
Malin Persson Giolito, Quicksand (trans. from Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles, Simon & Schuster 2017)
Dolores Redondo, The Invisible Guardian (trans. from Spanish by Isabelle Kaufeler, HarperCollins 2015 )
Adam Roberts, The Real-Town Murders (UK; Gollancz 2017)
Georges Simenon, Pietr the Latvian (Belgium, trans from French by David Bellos, Penguin 2013 )
Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, The Laughing Policeman (trans. from Swedish by Alan Blair, Harper Perennial 2007 )
Josef Skvorecky, The Mournful Demeanour of Lieutenant Boruvka (trans. from Czech by Rosemary Kavan, Kaca Polackova, and George Theiner, Norton 1991 )
Teresa Solana, The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and Other Stories (trans. from the Catalan by Peter Bush (Bitter Lemon Press 2018)
Lesley Thomson, The Detective’s Daughter (UK; Head of Zeus 2013)
Olga Tokarczuk, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead (tr. from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Fitzcarraldo Editions 2018)
Olivier Truc, Forty Days without Shadow (set in Lapland; trans. from French by Louise Rogers LaLaurie, Trapdoor 2014)
Antti Tuomainen, The Man Who Died (trans. from Finnish by David Hackston, Orenda Books 2017)
Simon Urban, Plan D (trans. from German by Katy Derbyshire, Harvill Secker 2013 )
Fred Vargas, Have Mercy on us All (trans. from French by David Bellos, Vintage 2004 )
Louise Welsh, A Lovely Way to Burn (UK; John Murray 2014)
I so hope you’re right. Thanks for the list. We are going to need it topping up as the years tick by……
It’s going to be a long road… And good idea – let’s keep the list topped up as we go.
Thanks Mrs P
You’re welcome, Paul!
Oh, this looks great, Mrs. P! Thanks so much for sharing. Lots and lots for me to explore 🙂
So many goodies, Margot! Enjoy x
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The UK is a part of Europe, Mrs P, and will still be as a geographical fact – but thankfully no longer in the EU.
We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, John. As a translator and editor who’s painstakingly built up an EU client list, Brexit equals only economic uncertainty and risk for me right now. I also worry about the funding infrastructure that brings us translated (crime) fiction. Often it’s translation grants from the EU or EU countries that allows us to read books like the ones on my list in English. We’ll have a clearer idea of the impacts in a couple of years…
#LeaveALightOn indeed and thank you. Like you I believe we will rejoin once it becomes clear what a f*** up Brexit is going to be for the UK. I hope to see it in my lifetime and intend to campaign for it starting on Saturday.
I’m with you, Stella! #LeaveALightOn x
As is anyone who has thought it through, I would say. Thank you for the list! I’ve probably read about a quarter of them so I may pursue some of the others. I might well re-read “Happy Birthday, Turk” first though.
You’re welcome! Love love love ‘Happy Birthday, Turk’!
Morning Mrs P. Well that’s a list and a half, with plenty to ponder on. I’m glad that some of the ‘older’ favourites are included. Tinker, Tailor etc, Dogs of Riga, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Laughing Policeman, as well as some newer ones. Time for a spot of re-reading 👓 methinks.
Morning, Kathy P! That’s such a good point. There’s genuine pleasure in re-reading old favourites, and we can often take away something new. The one I’ve re-read the most on this list is probably Tinker Tailor.
I was reading this list and thinking, no Fred Vargas, and then right at the end, there she was! A splendid list, and one that’s just added to my “Really Should Read” list. I’d add Michel Bussi’s “Black Waterlilies” to this, for the playful use of structure as well as some art history. I’m hoping that the flow of European books will continue with European publishers hoping to reach the American markets and that in the UK we continue to benefit from that.
PS That wasn’t meant to be anonymous, that was meant to be from CountryCrime but some crucial button wasn’t pressed at the right time. Sigh.
Ha! Know that feeling well 🙂
Ooh yes, got to have some Vargas on the list! I still remember reading her for the first time and absolutely loving the original world she’d created.
Thanks for recommending the Bussi – I’ll take a look at that one now. And yes, here’s to plenty more European crime fiction in the future for us here in the UK.