Swedish Crime Fiction

THE POSTMAN DELIVERS . . . Acts of Vanishing by Fredrik T Olsson


AOV LEFTYounger readers, please bear with me for a moment. People of my generation will need no introduction to the wonderful world of HM Bateman, a satirical cartoonist whose brilliance often matched that of Gillray and Hogarth. He was prolific and, like many cartoonists before and since, was a sublime draughtsman. One of his most popular series was ‘The Man Who ….” – and each featured someone who has committed a terrible social faux pas and provoked expressions of disdain, anger and astonishment on the faces of other characters in the picture. My personal solecism is that I remain lukewarm about much crime fiction which has its origins in Scandinavia. Not because I doubt the worth of the original, but more because of the insertion of a third party – the translator – into the relationship between reader and author. Yes, I know that puts me on shaky ground in many people’s opinions regarding writers such as Simenon and Vargas, but my stance is what it is, and I will happily defend my stance at another time and in another place.

OlssonThat lengthy preamble is by way of an introduction to the latest book to be passed from my postman into my grateful hand. Acts of Vanishing by Fredrik T Olsson came out in Kindle in August 2017, but Sphere are publishing the paperback version in just a couple of days – 8th March – and those who love hardback editions will be able to buy it from Little Brown in April. Olsson (right) hails from the Swedish city of Gothenberg and is not only a successful novelist, screenwriter and director, but also a stand-up comedian.

Translated by Michael Gallagher, Acts of Vanishing is the story of Sara Sandberg. The publicity tells us:

“It was ten past four on the afternoon of the third of December. Everything was darkness and ink, and the snow falling turned to water. Through it ran Sara Sandberg, the girl who was about to die, and somewhere in the cold, lead-grey hell that was Stockholm was a man who called himself her father. In her rucksack, she had a warning for him.Now whether he would receive it or not was all down to her.”




ON MY SHELF … January 2017


With due apology to the wonderful Andrew Marvell and his timeless poem To His Coy Mistress, (surely the best collection of chat-up lines ever penned) I have this to say;

Had I but world enough and time,
This reading pile would be no crime.
I would sit down, and think which way
To read, and pass my idle day.

The fascinating books just keep on coming, and the latest batch are all too typical of the amazing quality and variety of crime fiction books which are out there, just waiting to be read.

quicksand025With a father, Leif Gustav Willy Persson a Swedish criminologist and novelist who was a professor in criminology at the Swedish National Police Board, it is hardly surprising that Malin Persson Giolito should be drawn to the world of crime. Not only is she a lawyer, but has a growing reputation as a writer of crime fiction. Her latest novel, Quicksand, will be released in March/April of this year. Published by Simon & Schuster and translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles, Quicksand is the story of Maja Norberg, a teenage girl who has been caught up in one of the worst crimes in recent Swedish history. She has been, in turn, vilified and championed by the mainstream media, but now she is to have her hour – and more – in court. Is she a cold-blooded killer, or a demonised victim of an unspeakable evil?
Quicksand is available for pre-order in all formats.


barbara_nadelBarbara Nadel (right) is best known for her long running and highly successful crime series set in Istanbul, featuring the established cast of Çetin İkmen, a chain-smoking and hard-drinking detective on the Istanbul police force, and his colleagues Mehmet Süleyman, Balthazar Cohen and Armenian pathologist Arto Sarkissian.

Her series of novels featuring private investigator and ex-soldier Lee Arnold and his assistant Mumtaz Hakim, of which this is the latest has, apart from being excellent thrillers, tackled head-on the sometimes thorny questions surrounding the role of Muslim professional women in the UK’s largely secular society.

Bright Shiny Things couldn’t be more topical. With suspicions of Islamic radicalisation sparking along East London’s Brick Lane like a gunpowder fuse, and Turkey’s border with Syria being one of the most dangerous places in the world, Hakim and Arnold undertake a mission to trace the son of an old military contact of Arnold’s. Has Fayyad al’Barri renounced his family values and thrown in his lot with ISIS, or is the boy a victim of something evan more sinister? Bright Shiny Things will be out in April, and you can pre-order here.


katherinestansfield_km013Falling Creatures by Katherine Stansfield will appeal to those who like a good period drama, a dead body or two, an atmospheric setting and a sense of Gothic looming over everything. 1844? Tick. Beautiful girl found with throat cut? Tick. Bodmin Moor, beloved of Arthur Conan Doyle and Daphne du Maurier? Tick. Mists, marshes and malevolent men? Tick. The author grew up on Bodmin Moor, and her debut novel The Visitor, won the Holyer an Gof Fiction Prize in 2014. You can find out more about the author (pictured left) by visiting her website  Due to be published in March by Alison and Busby,  Falling Creatures can be pre-ordered here .







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