Archive for March, 2017


The Petrona judges have chosen a very interesting shortlist for the award for the best Nordic crime fiction novel of the year. The winner will be announced at the Crime Fest Annual Dinner in Bristol on 20 May. I have read Leif G.W. Person’s The Dying Detective and am in the middle of Kati Hiekkapelto’s The Exiled, and in my opinion either would be a worthy winner. But with past winner Yrsa Sigurdardottir, and the prolific Gunnar Staalesen on the shortlist the competition will be fierce. The translators of the shortlisted  books have an impressive record, previous translations by David Hackston, Victoria Cribb, Don Bartlett and Neil Smith have been among the best crime fiction books I have read. 

And I have not forgotten that my dear friend Maxine Clarke for whom the Petrona Award  is a memorial regarded Don Bartlett as one of her favourites.  With books from Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland and a pleasantly even division of male and female writers this is an impressive list.  I look forward to learning which book wins the award, although unfortunately due to health problems I won’t be able to attend Crime Fest. 


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

THE DYING DETECTIVE by Leif G.W. Persson tr. Neil Smith (Doubleday; Sweden)

THE BIRD TRIBUNAL by Agnes Ravatn tr. Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books, Norway)

WHY DID YOU LIE? by Yrsa Sigurđardóttir tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton, Iceland)

WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE by Gunnar Staalesen tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books, Norway)

THE WEDNESDAY CLUB by Kjell Westö tr. Neil Smith (MacLehose Press, Finland)

I have finally finished A Climate of Fear after many weeks. This is nothing to do with the quality of a fine book but more to do with my state of health and mind. I will be returning to hospital for investigation of a mysterious lump, something I would have ignored before I became acquainted with the C word. 

A Climate of Fear cleverly blended a little bit of frightening Icelandic folklore with French revolutionary terror brought to life in the modern day. Crime Fiction and the history of the French Revolution is a combination of two of my interests, so I enjoyed the book and once again Adamsberg showed his large team how to work out a very complex problem.

I have started to read The Exiled by Kati Hiekkapelto, translated by David Hackstrom. This the third in her Finnish detective Anna Fekete series after the two critically acclaimed books The Hummingbird and The Defenceless. 

In The Exiled Anna has returned to her family home in the ethnic Hungarian enclave in Serbia. I am only twenty five pages in but already gripped by the quality of the writing. Kati is an author who doesn’t shrink from telling the reader about the reality of life, and she deals with the gritty problems that affect all of Europe today. 

His observation was nothing but prejudiced supposition, thought Anna. Was there a single place on earth where ‘gypsy’ wasn’t a synonym for ‘thief’?