Nordic noir lovers: I need your help

Lake MountainOK, here’s the post where I admit to having read very little contemporary Scandinavian crime fiction — or so-called Nordic noir.

While I like to travel to places that are warmer than the one I leave behind, it doesn’t follow that I only read crime fiction from warmer climes. I’ve read Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko novels set in the former Soviet Union, including one set on a factory ship on the Bering Sea, which still makes me feel cold just thinking about it. I’ve read Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander books. I read Ian Rankin’s Rebus novels, set in perennially cold and wet Edinburgh, and Annie Hauxwell’s Catherine Berlin novels, which upped the ante by moving from cold and wet London, to freezing cold and snowing Moscow.

But the recent explosion in Northern European crime fiction has left me cold (pun intended) — largely because I have a contrary nature, which makes me less likely to like something because/when it is popular.

However, I’m about to run a workshop on setting in crime fiction, and I feel it would be remiss of me not to include at least one example from the more recent crop of Scandinavian crime fiction. Hence this call for help.

Nordic noir fans, please use the comments section to leave a paragraph or two (at most) that typifies a great example of a depiction of setting in a Scandinavian crime novel. Bonus points if the excerpt also uses setting to shed light on character. Please include the title of the novel and the author’s name.

Whoever nominates the excerpt I choose to use for my workshop will receive a selection of writing exercises designed to help you develop a strong sense of place in your own writing (if this would be useful) and/or my eternal gratitude.


About Angela Savage

Angela Savage is a Melbourne writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. She won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, and the Scarlet Stiletto Award short story award. Her latest novel is, Mother of Pearl, published by Transit Lounge. Angela holds a PhD in Creative Writing, is former CEO of Writers Victoria, and currently works as CEO of Public Libraries Victoria.
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12 Responses to Nordic noir lovers: I need your help

  1. Mary Dalmau says:

    Hello Angela, Mary D from Reader’s Feast here! You might like to read some of my reviews on my blog: Warm regards, Mary D

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Karin Fossum – writes about summer Norway as well as cold. I’ve not got the book in front of me – but her last one The Drowned Boy gives you that sense of the way that place, climate and character interact and it’s whydunnit as opposed to anything else as well (I can dig it out if you need some quotes).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. EuroButNotTrash says:

    Hi Angela, been blogging about Nordic Noir films, TV, and literature for several years. Hopefully you’ll find a book which appeals to you via my blog. Ragnar Jonasson’s recently published Snow Blind excels at conveying the sights, sounds, and smells of a north Icelandic town.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Margot Kinberg says:

    Angela – Have you checked out Barbara Fister’s Scandinavian Crime Fiction? It’s a terrific blog and a rich resource that you might find helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tyson Adams says:

    The other night I watched the Nordic adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters on Netflix. Using a clip or the trailer could be good for a talk.


    • Tyson Adams says:

      Oh, and in terms of setting and style, just look at how dark and wet everything is. It really does typify the region in a way hot and dry typifies Australia.


      • Tyson, I saw Headhunters at the cinema and it wasn’t my style at all — too gross! For my class, I ended up going with an excerpt from a Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö novel, although I’m pretty interested, following this brief survey, in reading Snow Blind by Ragnar Jonasson — and not just because the author’s name makes him sound like a Viking 😉


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