Nordic Noir is Hot

From the New York Times:

Publishers and booksellers are in a rush to find more Nordic noir to follow Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, known for the indelible characters of Ms. Salander and the investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist. The books have become a publishing phenomenon, selling 6 million copies in the United States and 35 million copies worldwide — nearly four times the population of Sweden. The third and final book in the series, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” was published last month in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf and instantly became the must-read book of the summer.

“The question is, after everybody reads ‘Hornet’s Nest,’ what are they going to do?” said Stan Hynds, a book buyer at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vt. “I’ve got this funny feeling that every publisher is going to come out with the next Stieg Larsson.”

Well, maybe not every publisher — but a lot of them. Scandinavian crime fiction has been popular among serious mystery readers for decades, but even best-selling novelists like Henning Mankell, Camilla Lackberg and Jo Nesbo are not yet widely known in the United States.

If there is a formula to the genre, it often includes a cold, stark setting and a grizzled detective figure who consumes too much coffee and junk food. The book covers tend to the bleak and icy, with images of frozen lakes, barren forests and perhaps a foreboding bloodstain.

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Before Salander

I have not read much nordic noir, but "Smilla's Sense of Snow" came along way before Lisbeth Salander. Smilla could be Salander's long-lost twin if she wasn't 10 years older.

nordic noir

I am currently reading the Erlendur detective series by Arnaldur Indridason set in Iceland. I love the stark settings and the central character: a driven, taciturn middle aged police detective! Also enjoyed Camilla Lackberg's books. I love it when you can enjoy a mystery and travel at the same time.

Karena.

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