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The “best Norwegian crime novel” is set in Minnesota(0)

April 17, 2017

The Land of Dreams (Minnesota Trilogy #1), by Vidar Sundstøl @@@@ (4 out of 5) Some 4.6 million Norwegian-Americans live in the United States, about half of them in the Upper Midwest. Nearly 900,000 can be found in Minnesota alone. These numbers compare with the total of 5.3 million people who live in Norway proper…. Read More ›

Donna Leon’s latest is not “one of her best”

Earthly Remains (Commissario Brunetti #26), by Donna Leon @@ (2 out of 5) For some reason I cannot fathom, Marilyn Stasio raved about Earthly Remains. Stasio has been editing a column on crime fiction for the New York Times Book Review—forever, it seems. Her recommendations are often good. But this one wasn’t. She called this… Read More ›

A Nazi medal in Sweden triggers a journey into the past

The Hidden Child (Patrik Hedström and Erica Falck #5), by Camilla Läckberg @@@@ (4 out of 5) Once upon a time French classicists derived the principles of drama from Aristotle’s Poetics, proclaiming the “three unities.” This restrictive concept required that a play depict only a single action that takes place in a single location within… Read More ›

Inspector Rebus goes to London to catch a serial murderer

Tooth and Nail (Inspector Rebus #3), by Ian Rankin @@@@ (4 out of 5) A serial murderer dubbed The Wolfman by the press has killed and mutilated three women in London, one a month. The pressure is on the police to catch the killer before panic spreads further. Now, someone at New Scotland Yard has… Read More ›

A right-wing politician is murdered on the streets of Oslo

Chameleon People (K2 and Patricia #4), by Hans Olav Lahlum @@@ (3 out of 5) An Oslo police detective known as K2 is startled one Saturday evening when a boy of about 15 frantically rushes through his apartment door and surrenders himself just moments ahead of the police officers who are chasing him. It soon… Read More ›

Stalking and murder at UC Berkeley

A Credible Threat (Jeri Howard #6), by Janet Dawson @@@@ (4 out of 5) A young man named Ted Macauley is stalking two undergraduate women at UC Berkeley. Someone, presumably the same man, has been calling the Elmwood District house they share with several other students and hanging up without speaking. And now the residents… Read More ›

Forced sterilization, fascists, and serial murder—in Denmark

The Purity of Vengeance (Department Q #4), by Jussi Adler-Olsen @@@@ (4 out of 5) Many Americans harbor an image of Denmark as one of the most progressive and livable countries in the world. That may well be the case—the country’s rankings on global indexes support it—but you might well gain a different impression of… Read More ›

Police corruption in suburbia

Where It Hurts (Gus Murphy #1), by Reed Farrel Coleman @@@@ (4 out of 5) After decades of reading mysteries and thrillers, I still frequently encounter authors whose names are new to me—but are described as “bestselling” and sometimes have dozens of novels to their credit. Reed Farrel Coleman is the latest example. Author of… Read More ›

Nazis, pacifists, and spies in 1930s Britain

A Lesson in Secrets (Maisie Dobbs #8), by Jacqueline Winspear @@@@ (4 out of 5) December 1932. Adolf Hitler is agitating to become Chancellor of Germany as his following grows. Many Britons, too, especially the aristocracy, are finding a lot to like in Herr Hitler and his Nazi Party. In increasing numbers, they are campaigning… Read More ›

Devil worship and murder in this early Inspector Rebus novel

Hide and Seek (Inspector Rebus #2), by Ian Rankin @@@@ (4 out of 5) Detective Sergeant John Rebus (later Inspector Rebus) is pulled from a pressing murder investigation by his boss to become the front man in a new citywide campaign to combat drug trafficking. Since this leaves him with little to do, and since… Read More ›