11] Crime Fiction in Translation
Crime takes place all over the world, and there's excellent crime fiction in many different languages. That's what makes this particular category such a difficult one.
One book that I might suggest as an excellent example of translated crime fiction is Henning Mankell's Faceless Killers, the first of his Kurt Wallander series.
In this novel, Wallander is faced with solving the brutal murders of Johannes Lovrgren and his wife, Maria. The murders themselves are horrible enough, but things get worse when word leaks out about Maria's dying word:"foreigners."
Immediately, it's assumed that the Lovgrens were murdered by foreigners, and that stirs up all sorts of racial and ethnic hatred. Now, Wallander has to deal with the investigation and the growing outcry about it.
He's also coping with a personal life that seems to be in a tailspin.
12] Wild Card
I'm very glad there's a "Wild Card" category, because crime fiction doesn't always fit neatly into an obvious category. My suggestion for this category is Alexander McCall Smith's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.
This novel tells the story of Mma. Precious Ramotswe, a Botswana woman who uses money she's earned from the sale of her father's cattle to open a detective agency. Soon after the agency opens, Mma. Ramotswe begins to investigate several cases, including tracking down a husband who's missing, catching a con man and looking for a young boy who's disappeared. She's assisted in her cases by Mma. Grace Makutsi, who's hired at first to be the agency's secretary, but soon shows that she is capable of much more.
Mma Ramotswe is a fascinating sleuth, and the series of novels that follows this one includes delightful characters, a strong sense of place and interesting cases.
So there you have it: twelve books that I would recommend for the person who's interested in crime fiction. You'll notice I didn't say, "my twelve favorite books", or "the best examples in each category." That's because there's so much wonderful crime fiction out there that I could probably complete the Dartmoor Dozen several times. Happy Reading!
Many thanks Margot for a wonderful selection of books. It has been a great pleasure hosting you here at Crime Scraps, and sharing some of your encyclopedic knowledge and obvious love of the genre.
Margot's twelve books were:
The Moonstone: Wilkie Collins
A Study in Scarlet: Arthur Conan Doyle
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: Agatha Christie
The Long Goodbye: Raymond Chandler
The Motive on Record: Dell Shannon
The Daughters of Cain: Colin Dexter
13 Steps: Ruth Rendell
Skinny Dip: Carl Hiassen
The Redemption of Alexander Seaton: Shona MacLean
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold: John le Carre
Faceless Killers: Henning Mankell
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency: Alexander McCall Smith