Thursday, January 11, 2007

Reviews of translated crime - yesterday's Metro

I couldn't find this in the Metro's online version so I've retyped it:
Scandinavia continues to provide a fertile landscape for crime writers and the latest to join the fold is Mari Jungstedt. Her debut novel Unseen is the first of a projected series set on the island of Gotland in the Baltic and follows the cat and mouse game between a serial killer and the authorities at the height of the holiday season. There's an icy, dispassionate grip to Jungstedt's writing that recalls Henning Mankell, although one does wonder whether the genre is starting to reach saturation point.

At the other end of the scale is The Third Heaven Conspiracy, a thickly atmospheric historical thriller by the Italian author Giulio Leoni set in pre-Renaissance Florence. A conspiracy to turn a church into a university that involves the new Pope as well as all manner of witchcraft pricks the interest of young poet Dante Alighieri in a literary mystery that's more The Name of the Rose than The Da Vinci Code.

Meanwhile, in Quebec, Commissariat Adamsberg finds himself personally involved in a series of linked murders committed over a 50-year period in Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand by Fred Vargas with the result that he soon finds himself on the run. A dense, complicated, exciting novel from one of the more interesting crime writers around.
Comments welcomed on whether the genre is getting saturated. Can one have too many Scandinavian writers translated into English?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Personally I don't think we can have too many books from other languages translated into English, but I particularly love Scandinavian literature as everybody would be aware, and I believe there's a big tradition of crime fiction reading in Scandinavia.

It's refreshing to see a vibrant smallish publishing industry and it's even more exciting to see it getting prominence outside it's immediate geographic location.