The Wolf And The Watchman: a Scandi stunner

Historical crime fiction novels typically lean towards the gentler end of the murder / mystery / suspense spectrum. Not this one. It is every bit as grim and grisly as a contemporary noir novel, and reveals characters as morally corrupt and callously cruel as any modern serial-killer thriller. But there’s much more to this gory…

Red Snow: a complex chiller

Like the very best Nordic noir, Red Snow conveys an eerie sense of place, of the suffocating claustrophobia endured by the inhabitants of a small Swedish town in frozen February. And like the very best crime fiction, the story in Red Snow centres on a remarkable protagonist, a touchstone for her time. Tuva Moodyson is…

Dark Pines: Nordic noir for the newcomer

Traditional Nordic noir isn’t to everyone’s tastes. It can be oblique as well as beautiful, taking subtle understatement to the brink of a stilted stall. The bitter chill of a Scandinavian winter can be brittle and unwelcoming – not only to the characters, but to a new reader who might struggle to engage with the…

Watching You: a masterclass of misdirection

In Watching You, one of the Nordic nations’ premier crime writers delivers a masterclass of misdirection and suspense. Arne Dahl – or Jan Arnald, if you prefer his other pen-name – kicks off what appears to be a standard Scandi crime police procedural with a stand-out, set piece action sequence which simultaneously curls your toes…

Wallander: Branagh’s farewell

This final set of three 90 minutes films are the hardest of the English-language interpretation to appreciate. Kurt Wallander has been brought to the screen by three different actors. If you prefer either of the Scandinavian versions to Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of the Swedish detective then you definitely won’t enjoy this one. If, however, you’re a fan…

Stockholm Noir: Sweden’s sleazy side

  Forget the superficially shiny side of Scandi crime and the clean-cut appearance of IKEA Sweden. This high-class anthology set in Sweden’s capital city exposes the queasy realities of social inequality, soul-diminishing isolation, bigotry and brutality in thirteen separate stories that offer an unflinchingly grim picture of the Scandinavian urban environment. This is midnight noir…