" That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet."
- Jhumpa Lahir
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” - Dr. Seuss
Winter seems like a great time of year to talk about authors from Scandanavia, which often makes one think of the cold. These countries of Demark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, also include Iceland where the above photo was taken by Joe de Sousa (available on Unsplash). I had just seen a PBS program on Iceland, about which I knew next to nothing, other than the fact that it is green whereas Greenland is actually icy! Iceland's rugged landscape carved by layers of ancient glaciers and its abundance of waterfalls make the country a draw to photographers from all over the world. Visitors can travel the lone highway circling the coast, but travel into the mountainous upper area called "the highlands", is recommended to only the most adventurous. I, on the other hand, as one who will stay on the well-known road, and prefer to read about this adventure, would highly recommend to everyone, Iceland's favorite mystery writer, Arnaldur Indridason, the first on this month's list.
Arnaldur Indridason: THE DARKNESS KNOWS (2021). This is the first in the Detective Konrad series. It's the fascinating story of what happens when a body is discovered thirty years after its disappearance, having been buried in a glacier. There were suspects at that time, but no incriminating evidence. This time the retired investigator from the case is called back to work, facing the same suspects. A seemingly unrelated hit-and-run crime that took place about the same time is also revived when the sister of the victim comes forth with additional information. The juxtaposition of the two crimes and the investigator's own life kept me guessing until the end.
Lars Keplar: This is actually the Swedish husband and wife team of Alexander and Alexandria Coehlo Ahndoril, each an author in their own right. As a team, they are writing the Joona Linna series, which while needn't be read in order, might be helpful, because of returning characters (good and bad). I have only read two of these: LAZARUS (#7) and SANDMAN (#4) and wasn't confused, but reviews I've read indicate some do. The stories are gripping and I would read every one of them if it weren't for my desire to discover authors to me!
Jussi Adler-Olsen: This is a Danish author who writes the Department Q series about a former homicide detective who is "promoted" to the department of cold cases where he is the head and sole member. There are 9 books in the series, beginning with THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES. This is another series that I would have kept reading were I not looking to discover.
Sjowal, Maj: This is another Swedish author who wrote with her husband, Per Wahloo in the 1960s-70s. The main character in this 10-book series is Detective Martin Beck. The first I read was THE MAN ON THE BALCONY. The scenes left me with a feeling of being both dark and cold, reminiscent of a Sherlock Holmes novel. Perfect reading for a cold, stormy night.
* * * * *
If you're looking to try a podcast, Game of Books has just posted their crime chat from last month, of which I was a part. Aside from meeting more new authors, you might learn something from watching my own experience of why podcasters put such emphasis on lighting and sound. Check it out either online or for the full experience...on Youtube: