The Petrona Award Shortlist 2016

Posted: April 19, 2016 in Agatha Christie, Book Awards, Finland, Norway, Scandinavia, Sweden

The announcement of the Petrona Award Shortlist is always  a bit of a sad time as I remember my friend the late Maxine Clarke.  

Maxine’s blog Petrona was an inspiration to so many, and she was one of a very small group of bloggers who spread the word concerning  Scandinavian crime fiction at a time when very few had even heard of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, or Stieg Larsson. 

This year’s shortlist looks very impressive with books from Norway, Finland and Sweden. I have read two of these books Kati Hiekkapelto’s The Defenceless and Hans Olav Lahlum’s Satellite People and I enjoyed both immensely. I hope to read at least two of the others before the announcement of the winner at Crime Fest in Bristol. 

Last year for the first time I totally disagreed with the judges on their choice of a winner. I think that one important criteria for the award should be that the book that wins should be one that Maxine would have enjoyed reading. 

A few thoughts about the contenders. I noticed the Lagercrantz on a half price offer in our local Waterstones. I haven’t read anything about this book but my natural reaction, possibly misguided, is that the series should have ended with the death of Stieg Larsson, and that the original fans of the series may regard this novel as an exploitation. 

On a more serious subject when I met Karin Fossum at Crime Fest several years ago we very briefly discussed her social work with children with Down’s Syndrome. She is a charming lady and does know what she is talking about on this subject.

The judges comments about her book The Drowned Boy are very interesting:

After the drowning of a young child with Down’s syndrome, Chief Inspector Sejer must ask himself if one of the parents could have been involved. The nature of grief is explored along with the experience of parenting children with learning difficulties. 

This is a subject about which I know a great deal, but reading this novel in the circumstances might be too traumatic. In our case for the wonderful twenty seven years our son Jacob was part of our family we thought we were looking after him, but in reality he was looking after us.  

I have linked to my reviews of two of these books. 

THE DROWNED BOY by Karin Fossum tr. Kari Dickson (Harvill Secker; Norway)

THE DEFENCELESS by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

THE CAVEMAN by Jorn Lier Horst tr. Anne Bruce (Sandstone Press; Norway)

THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB by David Lagercrantz tr. George Goulding (MacLehose Press; Sweden)

SATELLITE PEOPLE by Hans Olav Lahlum tr. Kari Dickson (Mantle/Pan Macmillan; Norway)

DARK AS MY HEART by Antti Tuomainen tr. Lola Rogers (Harvill Secker; Finland)     

  1. Jose Ignacio says:

    A wonderful remembrance of Maxine, Norman. Thanks,

  2. Kathy D. says:

    I totally agree with your comments about last year’s winning book and which book should have won. I hadn’t read The Silence of the Sea until a few months ago and I was not pleased with how the story unfolded and ultimately ended. Nor was I pleased with the scenes on the ship. They weren’t believable and the growing doom was too much to deal with. And the end was truly horrifying.

    On the other hand, I loved The Hummingbird and the next Anna Fegete book, The Defenceless. I just adore Kati Heikkapelto’s characters and writing.

    I wouldn’t rush to judgment on The Girl in the Spider’s Web. I liked it and I think that Lizbeth Salander’s character is portrayed quite well and plays a good role in the solving the murder. And there isn’t the kind of brutality and violence against women that was in the Millennium trilogy — which I did like despite that aspect. Other women friends have commented about the same thing.

  3. Bill Selnes says:

    Norman: I can feel the emotion in your words as you think of your son Jacob. Memories of loved family members gone remain strong in me as well.

    • Peter says:

      I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but Maxine left the first comment ever on Detectives Beyond Borders, back in 2006.

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