Sorry, I’ve been reviewing (though I’m still behind), but have neglected to link to this blog, so there’s going to be a few updates now.
Prior to my trip to Scandinavia, I wanted to at least be able to say I’d read a book by an author from each country. While my first choice would not have been yet another Scandinavian crime thriller, this novel caught my eye on a trip to the bookstore (technically, I already had a novel by a Danish author that would have qualified but it just didn’t quite interest me as much – it too was a mystery). While I can’t completely judge the whole series on one book, I actually thought this one added a refreshing bit of humor that has been entirely missing from the other Scandinavian crime novels I’ve read this year. I rather like the Harry Hole series, and in fact they may be one of the reasons Norway entered into my head as a vacation spot, but they do occasionally get quite dark and dour. I can’t say I liked the story or the detective in the Swedish one I read by Henning Mankell though with over a dozen books in the series, I can only assume he improves – either way, the novel was also just dry and dreary. While Carl Morck, the detective on whom this novel centers, has similarities with Harry’s type – antisocial, doesn’t play well with others, dysfunctional but brilliant – Olsen adds enough supporting characters to lighten things up a bit.