A Grain Of Truth: complex Eurocrime

A weird murder with ritual overtones, the stifling confines of small-town society and a charismatic detective: this would be an enthralling investigation if that’s all it offered. But A Grain Of Truth also gets to grip with one of the toughest issues of our times: anti-Semitism and its complex implications. Few nations were as affected…

Rapid Reviews: worldwide crime

Take a roadtrip with a US Marshall, travel back to Nazi Germany, explore the underbelly of the banking business in Switzerland, discover the strange side of Japanese noir, and meet one of Scandi crime’s finest detectives in his younger years. All this and more in these criminal escapades from international authors… The Pyramid by Henning…

Death Notice: a twisting mystery

A series of near-impossible murders in in Chengdu, China, are connected by the beautifully-penned ‘death notices’ which precede them, daring the police to stop this calculating killer. Each of the victims has to atone for his or her crimes; adultery, betrayal, murder and corruption. But this serial killer’s secrets start far in the past, with…

Crime Time: new books and ripping reads

If it’s too hot to do anything apart from flake out with a good book then at least you’ve got plenty of excellent crime thrillers and murder mysteries to choose from. Here’s our rapid round-up of the most intriguing new releases from indie authors and big-name bestsellers – including gritty Britcrime, police procedurals, international intrigue,…

The Mind’s Eye: a great start but slow progress

Van Veeteren is among the most famous of Swedish fictional detectives, but this was my first written encounter with the character. This book started off brilliantly with a mystifying mystery of the locked room tradition: a drowned wife in a locked bathroom, the husband so inebriated he could only remember their wild festivity of the…

The Darkness: deceptively simple

If Ragnar Jónasson was a painter, he’d be a meticulous minimalist, quietly capturing the essence of commonplace events in a low-key life – and then revealing a dazzling, broad canvas which weeps with compassion for the human condition. The Darkness, a standalone investigation set in Iceland, may easily be his best work yet translated into…

Zen And The Art Of Murder: a bleak mid-winter

The cover art of this book perfectly captures its sensibilities: a lone individual, trudging in an endless, featureless expanse – seemingly aimless, isolated and disoriented. ‘Zen’ shares much with the stranger side of Scandinavian crime fiction: that slippery sensation of disconnectedness; an understanding that important things are happening but they seem to be just out…