The Annika Bengtzon books: Liza Marklund translated by Neil Smith

Posted: August 11, 2011 in Scandinavia, Sweden

I am very grateful to Neil Smith for this information about his new translations of Liza Marklund’s superb series about journalist Annika Bengtzon. He very kindly commented on an old post but I thought it was worth posting here in case readers had missed his comment. There are also links to my reviews of Paradise and Red Wolf.

Transworld / Corgi now have the rights to all of the Annika Bengtzon books apart from Prime Time, and for various reasons decided to commission new translations of the first three books in the series (in order of publication) rather than reprint the existing translations. But rather than launch their new acquisition with a story that might already be familiar to crime aficionados, they went for Red Wolf, the first untranslated book (as Maxine mentioned above). Since Red Wolf, I’ve been gradually working my way through the whole series – it’s a great pleasure to be able to give them a ‘uniform voice’ for the first time, and to be able to work closely with Liza to make sure that the translations reflect her vision for the books as best they can.

But all of this does mean that there is now a third way to list the books, alongside chronological order and the order of publication in Sweden. To complicate matters further, two of the earlier books have also been renamed by Transworld for UK publication, although these may not make it to the US in the new translations and under their new titles! 

The list currently looks like this, in order of narative chronology:

1] Exposed – Sw. Studio sex, previously Studio 69 (new translation published May 2011).
2] Vanished – Sw. Paradiset, previously Paradise (new translation publ. March 2012).
(3] Prime Time – remains in the original translation.)
4] The Bomber – Sw. Sprängaren (new translation publ. November 2011).
5] Red Wolf – Sw. Röda vargen (translation publ. October 2010).
6] ‘Last Will’ (provisional title) – Sw. Nobels testamente (translation publ. March 2012).
7] ‘Lifetime’ (prov.) – Sw. Livstid (translation publ. October 2012).
8] ‘A Place in the Sun’ (prov.) – Sw. En plats i solen (translation publ. 2013).
9] as yet untitled new book (translation publ. 2013).

That’s probably more information than you’ll ever need, but it might come in useful at some point!

Thanks very much Neil, it has.

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Norman – This is really interesting and helpful, too :-). Thank you.

  2. Information may always come in useful, and these days when the private lives of the detectives are so important, it is much more important to read a series in order. Ten-fifteen years ago I would just pick them in any old order I found them in via the library 🙂

  3. Maxine says:

    It’s a lovely series – actually not written in chronological order, a case of the author turning the tables on the publisher?! I am so much looking forward to the next one – having read all the old translated ones, and Red Wolf. Neil is a very sympathetic translator, I’ve also read his translation of Mons Kallentoft’s Midwinter Sacrifice and I think his translation is actually better than the book!

  4. Maxine says:

    PS no disrespect to St Don!

  5. Neil Smith says:

    Glad the information came in useful after all! Thanks for the kind words. I’m having a short break from Annika at the moment while I finish the second of Mons Kallentoft’s series about Malin Fors, Summertime Death – it’s almost unbearably atmospheric. Where the first had extreme cold, this one has absurd heat – forest fires, melting roads… and, well, just a wee bit of death.

    Another book I translated recently – He Who Kills the Dragon, by Leif G W Persson – seems to have caused a bit of fuss in Hollywood:
    As I understand it, the book will be published by Transworld next summer (although that may well change). It’s well worth a look – Evert Bäckström is a truly memorable antihero, and the book itself playfully references a lot of the tropes of Nordic crime-writing.

    (@Maxine: Don and I are trying to turn Norfolk into a hub of Scandinavian crime-translation!)

  6. Ken Mahieu says:

    Thanks for this, it is very helpful. I created the same document for myself a year or two ago when I first discovered this series. It was the only way I could make sense of things. I never fell in love with the series though and quickly abandoned it; perhaps the chronology mess was a factor. I say “mess” because I didn’t feel it was necessary with this series. I contrast this with John Lawton’s Troy series where the chronology thing works beautifully (for me). He takes it one step further. His chronology within a single book, sometimes leapfrogs the chronology of another entire book in the series. Sorting through all that as a reader, even as the creator of a narrative guide, has another level of challenges – but a grand payoff. Another note – I was a great fan of the Sophie Hannah series. A slightly different issue. Every book I encountered in that series had a different title in the US v. its original UK title. With of course a significant and unpredictable lag in local publication dates. It all got very confusing after 3 or 4 books. Again I created a narrative guide. But Amazon USA sometimes was selling the same book but with two different titles and with no warning to the reader. I finally parted ways with this series as well; the stupid title manipulation didn’t help. In case you are wondering I have read many UK series from Book 1 to book current, e.g., Billingham, Rankin (Rebus), with no issues……yet. KEN

  7. […] The Annika Bengtzon books: Liza Marklund translated by Neil Smith at Crime Scraps Review Share this:MoreLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Liza Marklund. Bookmark the permalink. ← International Dagger Speculation (2013) […]

  8. […] Other reviews can be found at Nordic Bookblog and The Little Reader Library.  Crimescraps has a useful post about the chronology of the […]

  9. […] make it confusing for the reader. However, a useful guide to the series can be found at the blog, Crimescraps and as my latest read Last Will shows, each book can easily be read as a […]

  10. Anne H says:

    I learnt the hard way – never never buy one of these, especially the early ones, without checking and rechecking for alternative titles! This is not a bad rule with other Scandinavian writers.

  11. Anna says:

    I’m reading Studio Sex for a book club in Kajsa von Hofsten’s translation — and finding it appalling. It’s like watching a movie set in Sweden with the actors speaking English with a Swedish accent.

    Can anyone with experience of both translation comment on whether Neil Smith’s translation is more reasonable?

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