I have been trawling around some of my favourite crime fiction sites and blogs and what is noticeable is the preponderance of Scandinavian crime fiction, being read and written about.
For many years, I used to disregard crime fiction set in the UK, on the basis that I didn’t really what to read about where I live. When I read, I want to be transported elsewhere for the number of hours I’m immersed in the book.
I have now expanded my scope to include home-based fiction, on the grounds that I was obviously denying myself access to some great books with my myopic viewpoint.
When I looked abroad for my fix of crime fiction I was immediately drawn to America and some of the fantastic crime writers they have spawned; Jim Thompson, Elmore Leonard, Charles Willeford to name a few.
Spreading my wings further, I sought out books set in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, South Africa........and Scandinavia.
Over the past few years of book browsing, I have acquired a fair few books from the likes of Henning Mankell, Arnuldar Indridason and the double act of Sjowall/Wahloo amongst others. Plus I’ve added Jo Nesbo and Asa Larrson recently to my TBR pile.
Checking my reading list for the past three years, it’s apparent that whilst I like reading about Scandinavian crime fiction, I don’t actually read any.
2012 Scandinavian crime fiction read = ZERO,
2011 Scandinavian crime fiction read = 3 (Kepler, Larsson, Jungstedt}
2010 Scandinavian crime fiction read = ZERO,
Pre-2010 Scandinavian crime fiction read – memory dredging.....Sjowall/Wahloo – 1 of, Mankell – 2 of, and one of them was set in Africa!
Why do I actually have an aversion to reading these books?
Well a lot of the time I want to read about places that I’d like to go visit; somewhere warm, sunny, vibrant, inviting, relaxing.......none of which springs to mind when I think of Scandinavia.
Scandinavian word-association game...............cold, dark, bleak, dull, boring, Winter, Volvos, pickled herrings, Abba, Ulrika........none of which I’m viewing as positives.
The only major positive I can think of is Henrik Larsson and his wonderful days at Celtic, maybe if he wrote crime fiction, I would jump aboard.
Scandinavian crime fiction will be one of my reading targets for 2013 – one a month should be a reasonable aim.