When the summer heats up here in the Midwest these Scandinavian novels will keep you cool. The stark beauty of the winter and the long summer days set the mood for murder. In Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the main characters are Mikael Blomkvist a journalist and Lisbeth Salander an elusive techno wiz. Both these characters work together in an uneasy truce to fight corruption and expose dark secrets. (FICTION Larsson). These books were made into movies twice: The Swedish version and the American version which won Rooney Mara an Academy Award nomination. It also stars Daniel Craig as the journalist Blomvist. (G DVD)
In Karin Alvtegen’s Missing, a Swedish woman is forced to confront her past when she awakes to find a dead body in the bed next to her. Now she is wanted by the police and in order to prove her innocence she has to solve the crime herself or be prosecuted for murder. (MYSTERY Alvtegen)
Ake Edwardson’s Swedish Inspector Winter is philosophical, a bit of a snob and under great pressure to achieve results. Sun and Shadow is set in Gothenburg, Sweden. Christmas is coming as is the new millennium; his girlfriend is expecting his baby and a murder could have links to his police department. The pressure to solve this double murder is heavy on the youngest policeman to achieve the rank of Chief Inspector in Gothenburg, Sweden. (MYSTERY Edwardson)
The photo of a grave is left on the body of an elderly murder victim. Is this case related to a decade’s old crime or is this something new? In Jar City Arnaldur Indridason’s Detective Inspector Erlendur works to solve this murder set in Reykjavik Iceland. (MYSTERY Arnaldur)
Much of the action in this riveting novel Smilla’s Sense of Snow takes place on an icebreaker ship headed to a remote island off the Greenlandic coast. Smilla has developed a keen feeling for ice and snow, one she has used to her advantage in her work as a scientist in Greenland. A loner, her one friend a young boy has fallen to his death. Smilla’s curiosity and strong morals lead to her to pursue what the authority’s call an accident but she feels is murder. (FICTION Hoeg)
This title 1222 takes its name from the sea level at which the victims of a train crash during a blizzard are trapped. Anti-social retired police Inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen, a passenger on this train is slowly coaxed to investigate a murder. As the wind howls and the snow piles up so do the victims. (FICTION HOLT)
Swedish detective Patrik Hedstrom and childhood friend (soon to be girlfriend) biographer Erica Falck meet while investigating the death of Erica’s childhood friend in the small Swedish town of Fjallbacka. IcePrincess begins this Swedish series. (MYSTERY Lackberg)
Sun Storm is the first book in Asa Larsson’s series starring lawyer Rebecka Martinsson working as a prosecutor and police colleague Anna-Maria Mella. Martinsson returns to her small hometown of Kiruna in Northern Sweden at the request of an old friend to investigate a murder and soon finds it hard to leave. (MYSTERYLarsson).
Henning Mankell introduces Inspector Kurt Wallander in Faceless Killers and 13 titles follow. When you have read the books and still want more (which you will) there are 2 television series to keep you going. The British television series stars Kenneth Branagh as the Swedish Ystad policeman. The Swedish television series stars Krister Henriksson (MYSTERY Mankell).
Jo Nesbo’s Police Inspector Harry Hole series begins with The Redbreast: a novel. Harry’s moody and obsessive personality and his personal life in Oslo are compelling and will draw you into this series. (MYSTERY Nesbo)
All of these authors have written several books so you will have many choices to keep you cool.