Nordic Noir was an interesting BBC 4 documentary about Scandinavian crime fiction. As regular readers will know, I have quite a long-standing enthusiasm for a number of Scandinavian crime writers – as well as for their countries, which I’ve visited occasionally, and this was a worthwhile assessment with the added bonus of shots of fascinating towns, cities and landscapes (the photo is Stockholm, a city I really liked on my first visit this year.)
Inevitably, the main focus was on Stieg Larsson, but there was also discussion of a range of other writers, including Karin Fossum, Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell, Sjowall and Wahloo – and Arnaldur Indridason, whose native Iceland is one country I haven’t visited and which is high on my to-be-travelled-to list.
And there was mention, too, of Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, by Peter Hoeg, which some might call a ‘literary’ crime novel, and certainly a book which is memorable, especially perhaps for its early scenes. No mention,though, of Gunnar Staalesen, whom I discussed here a little while back.
The talking heads included the crime fiction commentator Barry Forshaw, and novelists Val McDermid and Hakan Nesser. The witty and amiable Nesser made the point that there are fashions in crime fiction as in other areas of life, and that one of these days, attention will shift elsewhere. Another interesting comment was that younger writers may be more interested in global issues than in exploring localised societies – I’m not sure whether I agree with this broad generalisation, but it certainly got me thinking.