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European Crime Fictions: Scandinavian Crime Fiction
ISBN: 9780708323304 (0708323308)Publication Date February 2011
Publisher: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press, Cardiff
Edited by Andrew Nestingen, Paula Arvas Format: Paperback, 234x157 mm, 196 pages Language: English Non-Stock Item - Ordered on request List Price: £24.99 
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As the first study in English of Nordic crime fiction, Scandinavian Crime Fiction spells out the context into which Nordic crime fiction fits through thirteen articles on the history, aesthetics, and film and television adaptation of the genre.

Yr astudiaeth gyntaf yn yr iaith Saesneg o ffuglen dditectif Sgandinafaidd, yn cynnwys tair ar ddeg o erthyglau am hanes ac estheteg, ac am addasiadau ffim a theledu o'r genre hwn a dyfodd yn hynod boblogaidd yn ystod y 1990au a'r 2000au.
This is the third volume in the University of Wales Press’s new European Crime Fictions series. The series began with Claire Gorrara’s erudite, accessible and tightly structured French Crime Fiction, which I unhesitatingly recommended to anyone with an interest in the genre. Equally erudite, Scandinavian Crime Fiction is less accessible and perhaps more narrowly targeted at the niche academic market for which the series is mainly intended.

This collection of papers, edited by Andrew Nestingen and Paula Arvas, will undoubtedly be warmly welcomed by scholars in the field, since it is the first English-language study of a popular and influential genre that has enjoyed such prominence since the 1990s. Despite the current economic climate, British publishing house Quercus saw its revenue increase by 100% in 2010 to a total of £23.3 million – £18.6 million of which was generated by Stieg Larsson titles. But Larsson, though dominating the current market, is not allowed to dominate the debate: Jo Nesbø (Norway), Christian Dorph and Simon Pasternak (Denmark), Henning Mankell (Sweden), Anne Holt (Norway), Liza Marklund and Camilla Läckberg (Sweden), Peter Høeg (Denmark), Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson and Ævar Örn Jósepsson (Iceland) are just a few of the authors studied here, with frequent nods to Maj Sjöwall’s and Per Wahlöö’s hugely influential ten-novel series, The Story of a Crime, which marked the end of the golden age of the Scandinavian version of the Anglo-Saxon whodunit (1945–65) and the move into the police procedurals that we now tend to associate with the genre.

The themes addressed are numerous and varied: postmodernism’s attitude to crime fiction, the socially critical police procedural as a contemporary definitive form, the prominence of gender issues and the increasing dominance of women crime writers and female protagonists, the urban/rural shift, and the ways in which ‘crime fiction forms a microcosm of a broader reality through which readers can sharpen their understanding of society’. In addressing these issues, and more besides, this volume will certainly achieve its aim of cultivating further scholarly debate and enriching understanding of this highly popular form of popular culture from Europe’s northern frontier.

Suzy Ceulan Hughes

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Table of Contents:
Andrew Nestingen and Paula Arvas

I. Genre revision
1. Swedish cops in the new millennium: The transformation of the police procedural
Kerstin Bergman, Lund University, Sweden.
2. High crime in contemporary Scandinavian literature: Peter Hoeg’s Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow
Magnus Persson, Malmö University, Sweden
3. Nordic crime fiction and the opacity of social life
Andrew Nestingen

II. Crime and affect
4. The place of pessimism in Henning Mankell’s ‘Kurt Wallander’ novels
Shane McCorristine, University College Dublin
5. Not the usual suspects: Håkan Nesser and collateral guilt in the north
Sylvia Soderlind, Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada

III. Contested identities
6. Contesting the past: Rewriting history in modern Scandinavian crime fiction
Karsten Wind Meyhoff, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
7. National identity in contemporary Icelandic crime fiction
Katrín Jakobsdóttir
8. The final frontier: Finland and Russia in Nordic crime fiction since the 2000s
Paula Arvas

IV. Intermediality
9. Dirty Harry in the Swedish welfare state
Michael Tapper, Lund University, Sweden
10. Making Swedish crime queens: Maria Lang, Liza Marklund and Camilla Läckberg
Sara Kärrholm
11. Gender at the margins in contemporary Nordic crime fiction on TV and in print
Karen Klitgaard Povlsen, University of Aarhus
Author Biography:
Paula Arvas is Lecturer in Finnish literature at the University of Helsinki and Andrew Nestingen is Professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Further Information:
Crime writers from the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) have become some of the most widely read authors of the 1990s and 2000s, tantalizing readers, because many of them do not know the cultures of the Nordic countries.

This first study in English of the genre will delight and challenge readers, as it helps them understand more deeply the work of such prominent writers as Henning Mankell, Liza Marklund, Karin Fossum, Stieg Larsson, Anne Holt, Arnaldur Indridason, Leena Lehtolainen, and Hakan Nesser, among others. Themes explored include the changing crime genre, the role of place and locale in Scandinavian crime fiction, and political and social debates in which crime fiction has participated.
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