Saturday, May 14, 2011

Danish Crime Fiction

I think it's a little weird that Sweden and Norway are making such a splash in crime fiction and Denmark is the quiet sister. But Denmark has plenty of its own writing greats, and a few of them are soon to be published in English, so you Scandinavian crime lovers out there, put these on your to-read list!

Jussi Adler-Olsen. Olsen writes a bestselling crime series - about inspector Carl Mørck in "Department Q" - that has been published to high acclaim in 25 countries. Earlier this year, six of his books were on the bestseller lists in Denmark. Only one book has been translated into English so far: Mercy (at Amazon UK), which will be published this year in America as The Keeper of Lost Causes.

Olsen won the prestigious Glass Key award in 2010.

Sara Blædel, aka the Danish Queen of Crime, is another hugely successful author with a crime series that's been published in numerous countries. Her six-book (and counting) series is set in Copenhagen and features Chief Inspector Louise Rick.

Her first American translation, Call Me Princess, will be published by Pegasus Books this August.

Elsebeth Egholm. Author of the popular 'Dicte Svendsen' series. Her first book in English, Next of Kin, tackles some meaty issues: interracial relationships and the tensions between a largely homogenous society and its ethnic minorities. From the description:

Fear and anxiety have spread to Denmark in the aftermath of the London bombings. Late one evening, journalist Dicte Svendsen receives an anonymous package containing footage of a brutal murder and beheading carried out by a sabre-wielding figure dressed in black.

Frustratingly, Egholm's English-language translations are only available in Australia at the moment, but you can protest by emailing any of the following publishers.

Christian Jungersen has one thriller in English and it looks amazing: The Exception. An "intense page-turner," according to Publisher's Weekly. 

Iben, Malene and Camilla work in Copenhagen for the Danish Center for Information on Genocide. Even before Iben and Malene receive death threats with Nazi overtones, the three friends had been ostracizing the new librarian, Anne-Lise. Though evidence suggests Serbian war criminal Mirko Zigic has been sending the death threats, the paranoia and fear of the three friends converge to make Anne-Lise the target of rising suspicion. Victimizing is part of human nature, Anne-Lise's doctor tells her when she seeks advice, and the novel hauntingly pursues this idea to its deepest implications.


  1. Awesome post. I'll have to keep my eyes open for these books/authors. I like nothing better than a good "Girl with the Dragon Tatoo"-esque crime novel for comfort reading.

  2. Me too! I haven't actually read any of them yet, but have been hearing good things. And a Danish journalist told me that Håkan Nesser - a Swedish crime writer we don't seem to know about - is the "very best of Scandinavia."