Swedish Crime Fiction
Tales of murder, mystery, and historic intrigue by high profile Swedish authors such as Larsson, Camilla Lackberg, and Henning Mankell have recently captured the imagination of readers. This is inspiring a new wave of Swedish cultural influence in the US, and prompting fans to follow in the literal footsteps of favored protagonists.
Among the most critically acclaimed Swedish authors is Stieg Larsson, whose Millennium series is a bestseller. More than 46 million people worldwide have read the books about journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. And this has sparked a Millennium phenomenon. Scenes from “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played With Fire”, and “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” are easily visualized during the Millennium Tour offered in Stockholm. Tour participants get an overview of locations — including Salander’s luxurious apartment — and film stops, insider information about film production, and talks about contemporary as well as historic sites on the central island of Södermalm, where the characters live and work.
The tranquil seaside town of Ystad in the province of Skane — popular for its white beaches and quaint timber-framed houses — is known to the 25+ million readers of Henning Mankell’s Wallander series as the undisputed murder capital of Scandinavia. And so it is on the “must see” list of Wallander fans. Those who discover Inspector Kurt Wallander’s hometown can imagine him hurrying along the narrow, cobblestone alleys of Ystad to track down a murderer, or follow his thinking as he ponders a case over a cup of coffee in Fridolfs Konditori or his apartment on Mariagatan. The tenth and last book in his Wallander series, , The Troubled Man, was recently published in the US.
Another favorite, Camilla Läckberg, is known as the Swedish crime queen for her psychological crime novels that began with “The Ice Princess”. Her stories take place in Fjällbacka, a beautiful fishing community dating to the 1600s located on Sweden’s West Coast north of Gothenburg, which is also the hometown of Läckberg.
Lars Kepler is the latest Swedish star on the crime writer horizon. Lars Kepler is the pseudonym of authors Alexandra and Alexander Ahndoril. After they had published their book The Hypnotist – a book that became an instant bestseller in Sweden – the Swedish media started a huge investigation into the case of who had written the book, and eventually it was revealed. The Hypnotist is currently being adapted into a film by Swedish director Lasse Hallström — known for movies such as Gilbert Grape, Chocolat and The Cider House Rules.
Jens Lapidus, born 1974, is a Swedish criminal defense lawyer and author, who made a big splash in Sweden with his debut novel Easy Monay (will be published in the US in November 2011) and the sequel Never fuck up. Both novels are dark and take place in the criminal underbelly of Stockholm, and have sold extremely well. His writing has been compared to James Ellroy. Warner Bros. recently won a bidding war for the rights, and rumors says we can expect to see Zac Efron star the American-set movie version of the book.
Liza" Marklund is a journalist and crime writer. Her novels, most of which feature the fictional character Annika Bengtzon, a newspaper journalist, have been published in thirty languages. The Postcard Killers, a crime thriller written in collaboration with American bestselling author James Patterson, is Marklund's twelfth book, in August 2010 it reached number one on the New York Times best-seller list, making Liza Marklund the second Swedish author (the first one being Stieg Larsson with the Millennium Trilogy) ever to reach the number one spot.