The mysteries of Sweden

When not gulping down episodes of “The Wire” and “Rome” (on DVD, courtesy of the Monroe County Library). I recently read a couple books from the collection of my employer, the FKCC Library: “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan — which I reviewed for Solares Hill, probably appearing in Friday’s edition. And I read my first Swedish mystery, a book called Sun Storm by Asa Larsson. I’m not a big mystery reader but I do like well-written mysteries (P.D. James or Kate Atkinson, for example) as recreational reading and I am half-Swedish so I figured I might be able to relate. Plus my friend Betsy is a big fan of this genre so I thought it was worth checking out.

At first I was disappointed — it was not a P.D. James-level novel (surprise!) and my impression is that the translation made it more stilted (unless people actually talk like that in Sweden, which I kind of doubt). But I kept going, partly because the literary novel I’ve got going is even more depressing, and the story wound up snaring me as they usually do in mysteries. If this were Entertainment Weekly I’d give it a B-. We’ve got another in our collection here at the college, called “The Princess of Burundi,” by Kjell Eriksson. I’ll probably give that one a try. My sister, who is a Swedish translator and an avid mystery reader, recommends two other writers: Kerstin Ekman and Hakkan Nesser. She also contributes this website from the Springfield (Mass.) City Library, which goes to show that when it comes to foreign crime fiction, peace-loving, ABBA-producing Sweden can murder with the best of them.

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