Monday, April 04, 2011


Last month Brian Oliver, Sports Editor of The Guardian, produced a list of the ten best modern European Crime Writers.
It was an idiosyncratic list and immediately had me searching my Oxford English Dictionary for a definition of modern [relating to present or recent past] because of the advanced age of several of those writers on the list. You would have to be an oldie like me to accept that 1975, the date of the last book in the Martin Beck series, as creeping in as recent past.

The list with year of birth:

Pierre Magnan 1922
Andrea Camilleri 1925
Maj Sjowall 1935 and Per Wahloo deceased
Petros Markaris 1937
Manuel Vazquez Montalban deceased
Jean-Claude Izzo deceased
Timothy Willams 1946
Henning Mankell 1948
Fred Vargas 1957
Arnaldur Indridason 1961

My own choice would have included Hakan Nesser 1950, Karin Fossum 1954 and Jo Nesbo 1960, but obviously in Europe the art of crime writing is considered something for the more mature author. Apart from Camilla Lackberg, I cannot think of any other big name crime author from Europe under forty.
But I expect there are some who have not yet been translated into English?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norman - Interesting point you bring up about what we mean by "modern" and "recent." It's all relative, don't you think? It's all in our perception...

8:25 AM  
Blogger Dorte H said...

I think your point about not being translated yet is very important. Of course there are young, budding crime writers who have not had an international break-through yet. But though I am ´only´ 50, I don´t read many of them. I think you have to have some life experience to write well. At least that is how I usually comfort myself ;)

8:34 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Margot you are right I find that what I perceive as "recent" is in fact history to younger people. I remember my father being asked when he was last in hospital and his reply that he wasn't sure of the year, but there was a Zeppelin Raid in progress.

Dorte I agree you have to have life experience to write and to do a lot of other things well. ;o)

9:07 AM  
Blogger Bernadette said...

I thought Asa Larsson would squeak under the line but it turns out she's a year older than me at 44. She looks a whole lot better though - must be the more delicate European sun :)

Actually looking at all the books I read it would be hard to find too many authored by 'youngsters' - and those that are do seem to present me with some 'issues' (don't get me started on Australia's hot young thing - Markus Zusak)

3:45 PM  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

There's also Liza Marklund, who was born in 1962.

I was aghast when I read that Kennth Brannagh's picture was put on "The Man from Beijing." I can't even figure out who that was supposed to represent.

There is no hero who fits his description in that book. The main protagonist is a Swedish woman judge.

So, does a man have to be the main character to sell a book? Is "the next Stieg Larsson," phenomenon now "the next Kurt Wallender," or even "the next Kenneth Brannaugh"?

It's getting more and more ridiculous. Now that the Wallender series is over, I wonder how Henning Mankell's new books will be publicized.

More than 30 million copies have been sold world-wide of Mankell's books, so it seems his books can sell, unless publishers and promoters think only Wallender can sell, and the Brannagh brand only.

Strange doing in the publishing world; the drive for sales tops all, no matter what.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Bernadette- What's the story about Markus Zusak I have never heard of him? I will have to google him. ;o)
I suspect they are using an old photo of Asa Larsson as in some I have seen she looks about 25. At my age everyone starts to look 25 apart from Andrea Camilleri.

3:15 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Kathy I am not allowed because of raised blood pressure to discuss the gorgeous Liza Marklund.

The next Stieg-Kenneth Branagh sticker phenomenon has become a farce.
I was quite relieved this morning to receive the latest Fred Vargas and find there was no "If you enjoyed Madame Bovary you will love this" sticker, or the "Next Camilla Lackberg."

The Leif GW Persson that I reviewed last year came with a sticker comparing him with Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, Ingmar Bergman and Bjorn Borg. Well not Borg but they practically covered every other Swede.

3:25 AM  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Oh, good, no if you loved "Le Rouge et Le Noir," you'll love the new book by Fred Vargas. Gee, that's progress.

That is funny about Leif GW Persson compared to those Swedes. Not to Per Wahloo, I see. Maybe current readers don't know Sjowall and Wahloo, but that is sad; they're really missing something.

Let us know how the Fred Vargas book is. I may have to buy it; our library takes decades to get new global books.

And watch your blood pressure.

4:00 PM  

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