Sweden Abroad

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Sweden Abroad
SWEDEN
Åsa Larsson
Liza Marklund
Kerstin Ekman
Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö
Stieg Larsson
Karin Alvtegen
Jens Lapidus
Leif G W Persson
Arne Dahl
Lars Kepler
Roslund & Hellström
Kjell Eriksson
Håkan Nesser
Mons Kallentoft
Camilla Läckberg
Åke Edwardson
Mari Jungstedt
Johan Theorin
Henning Mankell
INTRODUCTION
There are different ways of experiencing a country.
Visitors to Sweden commonly focus on the diversity
and beauty, are awed by the picture perfect settings
and soothed by the calm. However, for those who
dare, the journey from the south of Sweden to the
north can be made through the eyes and minds of
modern crime fiction writers. Swedish crime fiction
is known to explore and analyze the society and the
human psyche, while thrilling readers all over the
world.
In 2010, there were three Swedish crime fiction
authors on the top ten list of most sold novels in
Europe. If you consider that Sweden has a population
of nine million inhabitants, compared with over 800
million for Europe as a whole, you realize that this
is something of a phenomenon – a Swedish crime
fiction phenomenon. Sweden is perhaps not seen as
a crime-ridden country. On the contrary. But through
authors like Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell and many
others, it has become known for fictional crimes –
and well-written ones at that.
Join us here on a journey through the darker, but
fictional sides of Sweden – as seen and described by
the numerous Swedish crime authors now delighting
fans of murder and mystery all over the world.
The authors portrayed here represent some of
Sweden’s many crime fiction writers. But there are
other prolific and talented story tellers too, who are
also translated and well-appreciated outside Sweden.
We would urge you to use this booklet as an entry
point to Sweden, its literature and the thrills of the
country.
This material is produced by the Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi. It has been inspired by the Swedish Institute’s exhibit Scènes de Crime en Suède and by the
tourism information of Visit Sweden. The Embassy would like to extend its gratitude to photographers that have let their works be used in the production,
as well as to Matton AB that have leant several pictures to the publication free of charge.
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CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION.............................................................................1
MAJ SJÖWALL & PER WAHLÖÖ.......................................... 26
SOUTHERN SWEDEN...................................................................4
STIEG LARSSON........................................................................... 28
HENNING MANKELL....................................................................6
KARIN ALVTEGEN ..................................................................... 30
JOHAN THEORIN...........................................................................8
LEIF GW PERSSON...................................................................... 30
MARI JUNGSTEDT........................................................................10
JENS LAPIDUS.................................................................................32
ÅKE EDWARDSON........................................................................12
ARNE DAHL.....................................................................................34
CAMILLA LÄCKBERG.................................................................. 14
LARS KEPLER...................................................................................36
CENTRAL SWEDEN..................................................................... 16
ROSLUND & HELLSTRÖM........................................................38
MONS KALLENTOFT.................................................................. 18
NORTHERN SWEDEN ..............................................................40
HÅKAN NESSER............................................................................ 20
ÅSA LARSSON...............................................................................42
KJELL ERIKSSON............................................................................22
LIZA MARKLUND......................................................................... 44
STOCKHOLM.................................................................................24
KERSTIN EKMAN.......................................................................... 46
CRIME SCENE
SWEDEN
Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö, Stieg Larsson
Karin Alvtegen, Jens Lapidus, Leif G W Persson
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Arne Dahl, Lars Kepler, Roslund & Hellström
SOUTHERN SWEDEN
A journey across Sweden could begin in the South
– a region known for its pastoral countryside,
beautiful beaches, cozy restaurants and endless
forests.
With its wide range of leisure activities, the southern
part of Sweden has something to offer everyone.
The granite cliffs along the western coast, softened
during thousands of years by the North Sea, make
an ideal setting for sailing and old-fashioned
seaside holidays. Many visitors spend time in the
picturesque fishing villages with their welcoming
harbors and the archipelago in the east. There are
thousands of kilometers of hiking and bicycle trails
criss-crossing the south, and numerous historical
and archeological sites to visit.
Combine the stay with a city break in Gothenburg,
known for its seafood and Scandinavia’s largest
amusement park, or a stop-over in Malmö, where
you will find the Turning Torso – the architectural
masterpiece of Santiago Calatrava – and the 15.9
kilometer long Öresund bridge that connects
Sweden and Denmark. Or why not spend a few days
in Österlen, in the extreme south, where there are
ample opportunities to explore modern Swedish
gastronomy at its best?
The South has a history which is rich with myths
and legends. Many of the old tales carry the moral
sense of the need to watch out for ill intentions
and guard your secrets well. In the wrong hands,
some information can become lethal and the most
innocent of secrets may be used against you. When
stakes are high – sweet dreams can turn into virtual
nightmares.
What is your worst fear?
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Åsa Larsson
Liza Marklund
Kerstin Ekman
Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö
Stieg Larsson
Karin Alvtegen
Jens Lapidus
Leif G W Persson
Arne Dahl
Lars Kepler
Roslund & Hellström
Kjell Eriksson
Håkan Nesser
Mons Kallentoft
Camilla Läckberg
Åke Edwardson
Mari Jungstedt
Johan Theorin
Henning Mankell
Photo: Alex Brandell, © Malmö turism, imagebank.sweden.se
Photo by: ©Lina Ikse Bergman
HENNING MANKELL
At the southern tip of Sweden, you will find the
small town of Ystad, known for its picturesque
streets with old timber framed houses and the
beautiful white beaches surrounding it. This is
where Inspector Kurt Wallander, the main character
of Henning Mankell’s crime fiction novels, starts to
realize that a wind of change is blowing Swedish
society in an uncomfortable direction. Wallander, a
divorced, somewhat depressed music-lover, is one
of the most famous and captivating personalities
in modern Swedish literature. Mankell, in turn, is
one of the most famous and captivating Swedish
authors, selling millions of copies of his books
around the world. Although the final book featuring
Wallander has already been written, the novels and
films (not least in the British TV series featuring
Kenneth Branagh in the leading role) ensure that his
name will live on.
www.henningmankell.com
www.skane.se
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Photo: © Magnus Wahman, Matton Images
Photo by: ©Laurent Denimal
JOHAN THEORIN
Öland used to be one of the poorest places
in Sweden. The farmers and fishermen of the
island in the Baltic Sea had to struggle hard for
their survival. In the dark winter nights, tales of
supernatural phenomena took shape, spurred
on by the cold and powerful sea and the solemn
scenery of Stora Alvaret – a UNESCO World
Heritage site. After the construction of the bridge
connecting mainland Sweden and Öland in the
1970s, the situation changed. What used to be
the end of the world has become the heart of
Swedish summer tourism. In Johan Theorin’s
books, the past meets the present and the
ghostlike heritage of Öland is elegantly paired
with modern crime fiction stories of greed, guilt
and revenge.
www.johantheorin.com
www.olandturist.se
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Photo: Anders Johansson, © Ölands Turist AB, imagebank.sweden.se
Photo by: © Anna-Lena Ahlström
MARI JUNGSTEDT
Gotland, the Pearl of the Baltic Sea, is a summer
paradise. A paradise, which may appear quite the
opposite in the tired autumnal dusk or in the cold
of winter. Anders Knutas, police inspector in the
city of Visby, knows just how scary the island, with
its rich history, can be. In Jungstedt’s novels, the
ancient vaults of the city turn into places where
men in high positions molest young girls, corpses
of murdered people are found in pretty historical
surroundings and everyday pleasures, like going
fishing with a good friend, turn out to be a lot
more dangerous than one might expect… Since
her debut in 2003, Mari Jungstedt has written one
new novel a year, to the great satisfaction of her
large and dedicated audience.
www.jungstedtsgotland.se
www.gotland.se
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Photo: © Peter Grant, imagebank.sweden.se
Photo by: © Anders Deros
ÅKE EDWARDSON
Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city with
the country’s largest harbor. The city is also home
to important industries, many of which have
substantial operations in India, such as Volvo and
SKF. The city, often referred to as “Little London”,
is where Åke Edwardson’s Inspector Erik Winter
resides. The Anglo-Swedish dimensions are picked
up in Edwardson’s first novel, when Winter goes
to London to investigate the murder of a young
man. In the succeeding novels, we continue to
follow the private and professional life of Winter,
going through ordinary family issues while solving
spectacular crimes. Edwardson’s novels have been
translated in some 20 languages, several have
been made into films and the author has become
one of the most read in Sweden.
www.akeedwardson.se
www.goteborg.com
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Photo: Kjell Holmner, © Kjell Holmner/Gothenburg & co, imagebank.sweden.se
Photo by: © Thron Ullberg
CAMILLA LÄCKBERG
The idyllic fishing village of Fjällbacka, surrounded by
a breathtaking archipelago, is situated not far from
the Norwegian border on the Swedish west coast. It
is a place that attracts large numbers of tourists in
the summer, when the weather is pleasant and the
sea inviting. In Läckberg’s novels, however, Fjällbacka
is also the scene of gruesome and violent crimes.
The lead characters are Inspector Patrik Hedström
and his wife, Erika Falck. A theme that keeps coming
back in Läckberg’s novels, in between the crime
horrors, is the difficulty and joy of the modern
double-career family in Sweden. The novels of
Camilla Läckberg are, according to the author herself,
the result of boredom with her career as a marketing
professional, an inspiring writer’s course and hard,
dedicated work. Läckberg has nurtured a public
image of herself as a successful business woman with
crime fiction as her product.
www.camillalackberg.com
www.vastsverige.com
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Photo: Johnny Franzén, © Johnny Franzén/Johnér, imagebank.sweden.se
CENTRAL SWEDEN
Central Sweden, the heart of the country and the
cradle of Swedish industry, is home to thriving
enterprises and a booming steel industry.
Referring to Central Sweden as the heartland of
Sweden implies its importance in terms of politics,
commerce and culture. The significance of the
region can be traced far back in history. Extractions
from the Great Copper Mine in the northern
part of the region started already in the 7th or 8th
century. Later on, the findings there helped pave
the way for Sweden to become a major power
in Europe. Today the mine is listed as a UNESCO
World Heritage Site. The region also carries a rich
cultural heritage, and many of the beautiful palaces
and castles are open to visitors. In Central Sweden,
you will also find Dalarna, the province from which
many traditional Swedish artifacts originate.
Being in the centre of power may seem thrilling,
but in the world of politics, there are plenty of
written and unwritten rules. The sooner you pick
them up, the better off you will be. Politics can
be a dirty game and some people are willing to
risk everything to attain power. With eyes locked
on the goal, it is easy to lose track of what means
can really be justified. One day when looking in the
mirror, you may find that the person staring back is
a complete stranger.
Can you stand your own reflection?
16
Åsa Larsson
Liza Marklund
Kerstin Ekman
Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö
Stieg Larsson
Karin Alvtegen
Jens Lapidus
Leif G W Persson
Arne Dahl
Lars Kepler
Roslund & Hellström
Kjell Eriksson
Håkan Nesser
Mons Kallentoft
Camilla Läckberg
Åke Edwardson
Mari Jungstedt
Johan Theorin
Henning Mankell
Photo: © Louise Billgert, imagebank.sweden.se
Photo by: © Mia Carlsson
MONS KALLENTOFT
Linköping is one of Sweden’s largest cities, located a
couple of hours drive south from Stockholm. This is
the scene of crime in Mons Kallentoft’s novels, with
Superintendent Malin Fors as the lead character. In one of
the novels, an overweight, naked man one freezing night
is found hanging from one of the branches of an oak tree.
The investigation reveals that Bengt Andersson’s ending
is nothing but the logical end to a tragic life. The case
gets a breakthrough as Fors starts exploring the ancient
Aesir faith, but the truth turns out to be hard to handle
as upsetting aspects of today’s society are unveiled. Mons
Kallentoft grew up in a working class home in which
there were few books and little habit of reading. Yet, he
has managed to become one of Sweden’s best-selling
authors. Kallentoft is also one of many Swedish authors
who use social media in their communication with readers.
His “blog noir” is continuously updated with personal
reflections and thoughts on society.
www.monskallentoft.se
www.visitsweden.se
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Photo: Fredrik Schlyter, © Fredrik Schlyter/Johnér, imagebank.sweden.se
Photo by: © Lena Koller
HÅKAN NESSER
The geographical locations where Håkan Nesser’s novels are
set are often fictional. Yet, the similarities to places where
the author has lived are difficult to miss. In recent years, this
implies stories set in New York and London. In the earlier
novels, however, Håkan Nesser’s home town, Kumla, and
its surroundings are featured. Kumla is home to Sweden’s
largest prison. Despite this, it is a calm and sleepy place and
the inhabitants are shaken to the bones when, in one of
Nesser’s novels, a former elite sportsman is found murdered.
This is one of many cases of Inspector Van Veeteren – a true
European, who through his work comes across the gruesome
consequences of what loneliness and hatred can nurture.
Nesser’s production also includes a series on Inspector
Gunnar Barbarotti and a number of stand-alones. The novels
have been translated in 25 languages and sold some 10
million copies around the world. Håkan Nesser’s writing is
praised for its literary qualities and appreciated also among
people who generally shun crime fiction.
www.nesser.se
www.visitsweden.com
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Photo: © Björn Kärf, Matton Images
Photo by: © Lotta Thörnrot
KJELL ERIKSSON
Uppsala, located just north of Stockholm and west
of the Roslagen archipelago, is dominated by one of
Sweden’s largest and most prestigious universities
and by successful high-tech companies, mainly in
biotech. All of Kjell Eriksson’s ten crime novels featuring
Inspector Ann Lindell are set here. This is where Tore,
in one of the novels, struggles to make a new life for
himself, far away from the drugs that used to dominate
his existence. This is also where, in another of the
novels, a young woman and her daughter are hit by a
car when visiting a cemetery. Was it an accident or a
crime? The author, who also works as a gardener, offers
vivid and colorful descriptions of the central part
of Sweden and of modern Swedish society. Eriksson
was awarded the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’
Award for best debut novel and also the award for the
best Swedish crime fiction novel. He has vowed to
continue his exploration of Uppsala, even as the series
on Ann Lindell has now been completed.
http://www.ordfront.se/Bocker/Varaforfattare/KjellEriksson.aspx
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Photo: © Anders Tukler, Matton Images
STOCKHOLM
The capital of Sweden, Stockholm, deserves a
stop of its own. Stockholm has every element
of a metropolis; vibrant culture, great shopping,
exquisite cuisine, exclusive accommodation and an
internationally renowned nightlife. But what sets
Stockholm apart from other major international
cities is its closeness to nature and the clean waters
surrounding the 14 islands on which it is built. The
700 year old capital seduces its visitors and lures
them back – time and again.
Sweden’s largest city is best discovered on foot as
most interesting sites are within walking distance.
Nonetheless, the public transport system is
extensive and well-coordinated, making walking
optional. And those who prefer to just sit back and
relax, while taking in the beautiful views, can do so
in one of the many coffee shops or on a boat trip
in the archipelago.
As any capital, Stockholm attracts people from
every corner of the country with promises of
fame and fortune. It is the playground for the rich
and famous. The way to the top, however, can be
bumpy and if you get there, you stand the risk of
others wanting to take you down. In the spotlight,
there is no room for errors. When pressure mounts,
a seemingly flawless facade may very well crack,
revealing things that were never meant for public
display. The taste of La Dolce Vita is sweet, the
loss of it bitter.
If everything comes at a price, how far are you
willing to go to succeed?
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Åsa Larsson
Liza Marklund
Kerstin Ekman
Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö
Stieg Larsson
Karin Alvtegen
Jens Lapidus
Leif G W Persson
Arne Dahl
Lars Kepler
Roslund & Hellström
Kjell Eriksson
Håkan Nesser
Mons Kallentoft
Camilla Läckberg
Åke Edwardson
Mari Jungstedt
Johan Theorin
Henning Mankell
Photo: Jeppe Wikström, © Jeppe Wikström/Johnér, imagebank.sweden.se
Private Picture
MAJ SJÖWALL & PER WAHLÖÖ
The pioneers of modern crime fiction are Maj
Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, who between 1965 and
1975 wrote ten novels with detective Martin Beck
as the main protagonist. Their novels were the
first to analyze the challenges of a developing
society from the perspectives of those left behind
during modernization. Today, the couple is a given
reference in the crime fiction genre in Sweden
as well as internationally. Through their writing,
Sjöwall and Wahlöö shed a light on Stockholm
that the beautiful city was not used to. One that
is quite different from the positive one likely to
be experienced by visitors. The novels of Sjöwall
and Wahlöö paved the way for the rich flora of
Swedish crime fiction that has been written since
and has resulted in a large number of films and TV
series.
www.salomonssonagency.com
www.stockholmtown.com
26
Photo: © Björn Andrén, Matton Images
Photo by: © David Lagerlöf
STIEG LARSSON
For those new to the Swedish crime fiction phenomenon, the
Millennium Trilogy is perhaps the best illustration. Stieg Larsson’s
series created an instant hype worldwide and have topped bestseller
lists all over. In the Millennium Trilogy, maladjusted computer wiz
Lisbeth Salander and truth-seeking journalist Mikael Blomkvist
encounter the worst of a society where greed and disrespect for
human lives is mixed with cynicism. Stieg Larsson, who passed away
in 2004, shared many personal traits with Blomkvist, including that
of the probing and political journalist. The Millennium Trilogy was
yet another way for Larsson to describe the risks of corruption and
societal collapse, when there is an abuse of power and a lack of
transparency. After the Swedish film versions, Hollywood is doing
remakes of the stories, with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in the
lead roles. Ironically, the horrors experienced by Lisbeth Salander
and the cold environments described in the novels have created
a new wave of Stockholm tourism. The Millennium Tour, arranged
by the City Museum of Stockholm, points out important sites and
settings of the novels.
www.stieglarsson.se
www.stadsmuseum.stockholm.se
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Photo: © Frédérik Reglain, imagebank.sweden.se
KARIN ALVTEGEN
LEIF GW PERSSON
An animal in perceived danger can get dangerous.
The same holds true for human beings. What
Alvtegen calls “the typically Swedish strive for
perfection” is sometimes not enough to solve
conflicts that may arise between socially welladjusted individuals. Alvtegen’s thrillers describe how
fear, influxed by external and internal processes, can
trigger strange and sometimes dangerous behaviors.
Alvtegen has received a number of literary awards,
including The Glass Key for best Nordic crime novel
and the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award
for best crime novel of the year. She has also been
nominated for two of the most prestigious crime
novel awards in the world: The CWA International
Dagger and The Edgar Allan Poe Award.
There is a distinct Stockholmian accent, and
few people have made use of this more than
professor of criminology Leif GW Persson. It is little
wonder therefore that most of Persson’s novels
are set in Stockholm. Considering that Persson’s
research extensively explores the measures and
methodologies of Swedish police, it is also no
surprise that those novels are mainly crime fiction.
Leif GW Persson is one of Sweden’s most established
crime writers. There are two main characters in his
novels: the hero, Inspector Lars M Johansson, and the
anti-hero, Inspector Evert Bäckström. Many of the
cases touch upon the 1986 murder of Swedish Prime
Minister Olof Palme in one way or another. Persson
exposes the incompetence and level of corruption
among some policemen, politicians and civil servants
and launches theories of what actually took place
when the Prime Minister was murdered. The series
has now presumably come to an end and Leif GW
Persson’s many readers wait with anticipation on
what next will come from his pen.
www.karinalvtegen.com
www.stockholmtown.com
www.salomonssonagency.com
www.stockholmtown.com
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Photo: © Jens Randecker, imagebank.sweden.se
Photo by: © Sara McKay
JENS LAPIDUS
Jens Lapidus novels are set in the fast-paced, young and
glossy Stockholm. The setting would be superficial in its
vain self-consciousness, had it not been for its ties to
international drug and crime syndicates. In the Stockholm
that Jens Lapidus describes, the reader meets a cruel,
cynical and violent world where money and the striving
to climb the social ladder into the fast lane are central
elements. The lead characters operate in the legal greyzone or beyond. Many, but not all, experience judicial as
well as – worse – social blows. The settings are vividly
described by the author, who works as a criminal defense
lawyer in one of Stockholm’s most prestigious firms.
To date, two of Lapidus’ Stockholm Noir Trilogy titles
have been released – Fast Cash and Never Fuck Up. The
novels have been sold to 27 countries. Fast cash has been
cinematized, with the remake rights sold to Warner Bros,
where Zac Efron has signed for the lead role.
www.salomonssonagency.com
www.stockholmtown.com
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Photo: © Kristoffer Kling, Matton Images
Photo by: © Sara Arnald
ARNE DAHL
One of Sweden’s more prolific crime writers is Arne Dahl,
which is a pseudonym for the literature critic Jan Arland. Arne
Dahl has written a series of eleven novels about the A-group, a
special unit for international crimes in the Swedish police force.
The series has been translated in 20 languages and, like other
Swedish crime fiction, it is selling well internationally as well as in
Sweden. Jan Arnald has in recent years started publishing books
under his real name. His analyses of Swedish society are made
from a leftist angle and often strongly critical of a development
wherein private interests are given prominence at the expense
of traditional values such as solidarity. Arnald voices the opinion
that the crime fiction genre gives opportunities to explore
difficult existentialist queries and approach groups of people who
would otherwise be excluded from those discussions – and that it
should be taken seriously. The first five Arne Dahl novels are being
cinematized during the years 2010-2011. The project engages the
same director and script writers as the productions of Sjöwall and
Wahlöö’s Inspector Beck series.
www.salomonssonagency.com
www.stockholmtown.com
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Photo: © Jens Randecker, imagebank.sweden.se
Photo: © Anna-Lena Ahlström
LARS KEPLER
Under the pseudonym Lars Kepler, the couple
Alexander and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril have
written cruel thrillers, in which the violence is grim
and the undertone nightmarish. In The Hypnotist,
which was released in 2009, Stockholm is described
as cold in every sense. It’s winter and freezing and
simultaneously, there is a lack of empathy between
people that gives the reader the shivers. The novel
was sold to 23 countries already before it was
released in Sweden and it has consistently been
on the bestseller lists since its release. The second
novel, The Paganini Contract, is equally violent and
psychologically uncomfortable, and this novel was
even better received by critics. The way the reader
increasingly gets to know the novels’ protagonist,
Inspector Joona Linna, points to that Coelho
Ahndorils/Lars Kepler do not intend to stop at two
successful releases!
www.bonniergroupagency.com
www.stockholmtown.com
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Photo: © Noemi Pal, imagebank.sweden.se
Photo: © Peter Knutson
ROSLUND & HELLSTRÖM
In the novels by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström,
readers are taken on a journey where fiction meets
reality, with tales of loss, addiction and revenge. In their
writing, the duo demonstrates a strong social awareness
and the novels carry political undertones. The main
character, Inspector Ewert Grens, has become a wellknown hero of modern Swedish literature. Roslund
and Hellström’s novels have been translated in over 20
languages and are sold to some 50 countries with film
rights sold to Hollywood. The combined experiences of
Roslund and Hellström stand out: Börge Hellström has a
past as a drug-addict with multiple sentences for crimes
of violence. After having cleaned up, Hellström worked
with rehabilitation of young offenders and drug addicts
and co-founded the crime prevention organization,
Criminals Return Into Society (KRIS). The duo met when
the journalist Anders Roslund was making a documentary
on the same.
www.roslund-hellstrom.com
www.stockholm.com
38
Photo: © Björn Nordien, Matton Images
NORTHERN SWEDEN
A visitor to the North of Sweden is often struck by
the magnificent landscape of towering peaks and
endless vistas of pine forest, polar plains, meadows
and glaciers.
The North has a lot to offer in terms of rich natural
resources and a unique cultural heritage. Here is
where one finds the legendary national parks
Abisko and Sarek in Swedish Lapland – Europe’s last
remaining wilderness. Many wild animals are found
in Northern Sweden, such as bear, elk, golden eagle
and the rare Arctic Fox, as well as reindeer herded
by Sámi, Sweden’s one indigenous population.
This is also the land of the Midnight Sun and the
staggeringly beautiful Northern Lights.
During winter-time, ski resorts close to the
Arctic Circle are packed with enthusiastic visitors
indulging in various winter activities. A must-see
is the famous Ice Hotel, located in Jokkmokk. It
has all the features of a luxury boutique hotel, the
twist is it that everything, including the glasses in
the bar and the beds(!), is made of ice.
With all its richness, the North is a paradise for
lovers of the outdoor life. However, the long,
cold winters and the lack of daylight can have a
dangerous effect on a fragile psyche. A fear of the
dark, in a place where light is scarce, can easily
become a breeding ground for dangerous minds
feeding on the fear of others.
Are you afraid of the dark?
40
Åsa Larsson
Liza Marklund
Kerstin Ekman
Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö
Stieg Larsson
Karin Alvtegen
Jens Lapidus
Leif G W Persson
Arne Dahl
Lars Kepler
Roslund & Hellström
Kjell Eriksson
Håkan Nesser
Mons Kallentoft
Camilla Läckberg
Åke Edwardson
Mari Jungstedt
Johan Theorin
Henning Mankell
Photo: © Ove Källström , imagebank.sweden.se
Photo: © Laurent Denimal
ÅSA LARSSON
Intriguing psychological crime thrillers is
something of a trademark for Åsa Larsson’s literary
work. The plot often plays out in the hometown
of the author – Kiruna. The city, located in the
far north, is known for many things, such as its
long, freezing cold and dark winters, the Kiruna
mine, which is the largest underground iron
ore in the world, and last but not least – its
disproportionally large number of suicides.
Larsson made her mark in the world of crime
fiction with her debut novel Sun Storm – the
first in a series of books about the young female
lawyer Rebecka Martinsson. The story begins
when unexpected events force Rebecka to return
to her home region, just to find herself haunted
by both the past and the present. And when the
wrong person is out to get you, some secrets are
better kept hidden.
www.albertbonniersforlag.se
www.kiruna.se
42
Photo: © Peter Gant, imagebank.sweden.se
Photo: © Annika Marklund
LIZA MARKLUND
“A male-dominated society, in which women are often
portrayed as flat bystanders to powerful men, calls for
more heroines!” That was the leading thought behind the
creation of Liza Marklund’s well-known crime fiction series
about the investigative reporter Annika Bengtzon. In her
thrilling novels, Marklund simultaneously deals with the
issues of combining parenthood and a successful career.
Bengtzon constantly seems to carry a feeling of guilt and
inadequacy, especially since her choice of career and quest
for the truth often lead her into situations where she puts
herself as well as her family at risk. Marklund originates
from the small village Pålmark in the north of Sweden. She
moved to Stockholm to pursue a career in journalism and
is one of the first successful Swedish female crime fiction
writers. She has received international recognition through
her bestsellers. The novel she wrote together with James
Petterson in 2010, The Postcard Killers, topped the New
York Times bestseller list.
www.piratforlaget.se/forfattare/liza-marklund
www.pitea.se
44
Photo: © Thomas Utsi, imagebank.sweden.se
Photo: © Pieter ten Hoopen
KERSTIN EKMAN
The novels of Kerstin Ekman are neither purely fiction
nor reality, but something in between. In the 1970s
and early 1980s, her stories were largely influenced
by people and places in her hometown, Katrineholm,
and her tetralogy, The Women and the Town, was
criticized for coming too close to reality. In the late
1980s Ekman decided to settle down in the North. The
Northern landscapes, people and the society soon
became central in her work. Several of Ekman’s books
are referred to as crime fiction novels, but it is the
individual and her inner struggle that stand in focus.
Among her works can be mentioned Blackwater and
the trilogy The Wolfskin. Ekman was elected member
of the Swedish Academy in 1978, but left the Academy
in 1989 due to the debate following death threats
posed to Salman Rushdie. According to the rules
of the Academy, however, she will remain a passive
member for the rest of her life.
www.albertbonniersforlag.se
www.luleå.se
46
Photo: © Staffan Widstand, imagebank.sweden.se
THE END, BUT...
With that, our journey through Sweden ends
– for this time. However, Swedish crime fiction
keeps prospering, with new writers emerging
and established ones continuing to publish.
Thus, you will find many reasons to revisit the
darker sides of Sweden in the future.
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