It is nice to get back on line, nearly 24 hours without any electronic contact with friends and relatives is a harrowing experience.
There have been numerous articles about the appeal of Nordic crime fiction in the main stream media some of which have been quite funny.
Thanks to Barbara Fister and Maxine of Petrona [who both produce superb blogs that are required reading for anyone with the slightest interest in Scandinavian crime fiction] for pointing out an article where the writer's examples of British crime fiction were 'Conan Doyle and Christie and more recently P.D. James and Ruth Rendell'.
Ruth Rendell 'more recently' first brought us Reg Wexford in the days when I could walk up Bristol's Park Street [Crime Fest visitors will know what I mean] without needing a team of paramedics.
Obviously some of these main stream media writers need to get out more.
So many articles ask the question: Why is Scandinavian Crime Fiction so popular?
This always reminds me of the history exam question set to students in a high school in Atlanta:
Why did the South lose the Civil War?
Most of the class wrote reams and reams on the military, economic, social, political and demographic reasons, apart from one student who answered with one sentence.
'I think the Yankee Army had something to do with it'.
Scandinavian crime fiction is popular because it features good writing, usually excellent translation, well thought out plots and interesting characters.
The difference in location is merely an extra bonus to these basics in my opinion.
The main stream media seem to still regard Sweden as some sort of bizarre mixture of fictional Midsomer, and scenic Stow in the Wold, with snow, and absolutely no real life crime.
This despite the fact that in the real world Sweden has the distinction of having had two major politicians assassinated in fairly recent times; Olaf Palme in 1986 and Anna Lindh in 2003.
They also try and link all Scandinavian crime fiction under one 'gloomy' banner, when in reality Karin Fossum, Hakan Nesser, Stieg Larsson, Leif Davidsen, Liza Marklund, Camilla Lackberg, Helene Tursten, Karin Alvtegen, Jo Nesbo and K.O.Dahl for instance are all very different writers, and write very different books.
Married couple fund dead in cellar
Taxi driver charged with raping customer
Politician caught with chid pornography stash
Fatal shooting in central Malmo
Tourist wounded in Malmo shooting
Ex-Police Chief remanded in sex ring probe and Ex-Police Chief arrested for rape
Police shoot student at Swedish college
I am being little unfair quoting all these, but globalization increasingly means that all major cities have similar problems whether they are in the USA, Scandinavia, Australasia or Asia. Crime fiction writers will have to rely less on supposedly exotic location details and concentrate more on plot and characters.
The successful ones already do this, but add in the extra details of history and culture in an almost seamless fashion.