Dregs: another Scandi detective

William Wisting is the latest Norwegian detective to appear on our TV screens, and if you enjoy this style of calculated and complicated investigation then there’s a series of six books to look forward to. The first, Dregs, is very much cut from the same cloth as Wallander or Beck: this is Scandi crime and…

The Courier: mainly history, not so thrilling

If you rate a book by its historical context, social insight and technical accomplishment then this Scandinavian story would be a full-on five-star phenomenon. It’s a consummate construction of complex timelines set in WW2 in Norway, the mid-1960s in Sweden, and the 21st century. A cold-blooded killing committed in the past can only be solved…

Wolves In The Dark: a hunted man

This Norwegian investigation started off brilliantly. Private eye Varg Veum is ensnared in a savage trap, one sprung by his own degeneracy. During a period of emotional turmoil, Veum descended into the broke and barely-functioning chaos of an alcoholic binge which lasted several years. Now in recovery, with the promise of a stable relationship on…

Varg Veum: a wolf comes a-calling

In an extended moment of muppetry, I avoided reading Gunnar Staalesen’s Varg Veum series for decades. Every time a new episode featuring the Norwegian private detective arrived, my vision was averted. I looked the other way, put off by back-cover blurbs which compared the books to Henning Mankell, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. That old…

Classic Crime: The Iron Chariot

This is a brand-new translation of a Norwegian novel that’s more than 100 years old – so don’t pick it up expecting cutting-edge Scandi crime or the bleak brutality of Nordic noir. Instead The Iron Chariot offers a nostalgic interlude in the golden age of the private detective. Puzzle-solver and independent investigator Asbjørn Krag is…