Swede Summer Reads!

It’s not too late to pick up a great book (or books) to read this summer. I have been thinking of putting up a list of favorite Swedish crime novels. There’s nothing so thrilling as to read a dark, mysterious crime story in a distant place such as Sweden! Some of these authors have a deeply disturbing mind. You know, it’s those quiet ones that have some very scary ideas!. 🙂 Reading Swedish books really gives you an insight into the culture, so I enjoy solving the crimes and reading a perspective on Swedish society.

Swedish crime novels are popular internationally and quite depressingly cold and brooding, as you might know about the stories in The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by author Stieg Larsson. But contrast that with sitting on a beach with the sun beaming down on you, it makes the heat feel that much better. We’re really under a heat wave up here in Canada! It’s a balmy 28C/80s on Vancouver Island and I heard 33C/high 80s with humidity in Toronto! Ick!!

I will list those authors who have translated books in English for those who can’t read Swedish, so you won’t miss out on these very talented writers. For a synopsis of the book, click on its link and it will take you to Amazon. You will even be able to get some of these titles on Kindle! Also, don’t forget that you can order Swedish books online and mailed to you internationally at Bokus:

Order Books in Swedish at Bokus.com


Karin Alvtegen
Alvtegen’s psychological thrillers are generally set in Sweden. Four of her books have been translated into English: Missing, Betrayal, Shadow and Shame. A factoid about her is that she is the grand niece of famed author, Astrid Lindgren of Pippi Longstockings.


Åke Edwardson
A Swedish author of detective fiction and former lecturer in journalism at Gothenburg University, Edwardson has had many jobs, including being a journalist and press officer for the United Nations. His crime novels have made him a three-time winner of the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy Award for best crime novel. His first novel was Sun and Shadow. The second, Never End, followed in 2006.



Kerstin Ekman
Kerstin Ekman wrote a series of successful crime novels but later went on to psychological and social themes. Ekman was elected member of the Swedish Academy in 1978, but left the Academy in 1989 due to the debate following death threats on Salman Rushdie. Among her works, she wrote Blackwater and Under the Snow.



Lars Kepler
This is the pen name for husband and wife team of Alexander Ahndoril, a Swedish novelist and playwright and wife Alexandra. Their first novel, The Hypnotist, is a crime fiction thriller which had a sequel, The Nightmare, which also features the Stockholm police detective Joona Linna. The books have sold more than 1.5 million copies in Sweden alone and have been translated into various languages. The Hypnotist has been released as a motion picture and two other Jonna Linna thrillers have been completed, The Fire Witness and The Sandman.


stieglarsson millenium

Stieg Larsson
A Swedish journalist and writer, he is best known for writing the “Millennium series” of crime novels, which were published after his sudden death in 2004. Larsson lived and worked much of his life in Stockholm, in the field of journalism and as an independent researcher of right-wing extremism. He was the second best-selling author in the world for 2008. By December 2011, his “Millennium series” had sold 65 million copies and includes Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Girl Who Played with Fire and Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, which became major motion pictures in Sweden and remakes are on their way in the U.S.



Åsa Larsson
A Swedish crime-writer who was born in Uppsala, she was raised in Kiruna in the far north. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Larsson was a tax lawyer, a profession she shares with the heroine of her novels, Rebecka Martinsson. Her first novel published in the UK (under the title The Savage Altar), was shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger. The 2007 Swedish film Solstorm was based on this book.



Camilla Läckberg

Läckberg was born in Fjällbacka, Bohuslän, and started writing at an early age. She is widely considered the Agatha Christie of Swedish crime novels. Läckberg’s books have received special praise for in-depth characterization and not clearly seeing the protagonist in a multitude of characters, as she believes in showing the dark sides of humanity. Some of her most famous works are Ice Princess and the Preacher.



Henning Mankell

A renowned Swedish crime writer, children’s author, leftist political activist and dramatist, he is best known for a series of mystery novels starring his most famous creation, Inspector Kurt Wallander, where he solves shocking murders with his colleagues. His novels usually have an underlying question, “What went wrong with Swedish society?”. The ninth book, The Pyramid, is a prequel with a collection of five novellas with the last one ending just before the start of Faceless Killers. Ten years after The Pyramid, Mankell published another Wallander novel, The Troubled Man, which he said would definitely be the last in the series. A Swedish and UK production of the Wallander series were made for TV.



Håkan Nesser
A Swedish author and teacher who has written a number of successful novels, mostly crime fiction, he has won Best Swedish Crime Novel Award three times. The recurring main character is called Van Veeteren. These books play out in a fictitious city called Maardam, said to be located in northern Europe in a country which is never named but resembles Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland and Germany. The series begins with Mind’s Eye.

sjowall and wahloo-2


Sjöwall and Wahlöö
They are Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, a wife and husband team of detective writers from Sweden. Together they wrote a series of ten novels about the exploits of detectives from the special homicide commission of the national police where Martin Beck is the main protagonist. Both authors also wrote novels separately. For the Martin Beck series, they plotted and researched each book together then wrote alternate chapters. The first book starts with Roseanne.



Johan Theorin
A journalist and author, Theorin was born in 1963 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Throughout his life, Johan Theorin has been a regular visitor to the island of Öland in the Baltic sea, where his mother’s family are sailors, fishermen and farmers who have lived there for centuries nurturing the island’s legacy of strange tales and folklore. His books are mostly set on this island. Echoes from the Dead is his first novel. His second novel, The Darkest Room, was voted the Best Swedish Crime Novel of 2008 and won the Glass Key award in 2009.



Helene Tursten
She is a Swedish writer of crime fiction. The main character in her stories is Detective Inspector Irene Huss. Before becoming an author, Tursten worked as a nurse and then a dentist, but was forced to leave due to illness. During her illness she worked as a translator of medical articles. Her first book is Detective Inspector Huss.

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Categories: Swedish Culture


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One Comment on “Swede Summer Reads!”

  1. August 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Thanks for your suggestions! I’m off to my cottage soon and found books by 3 of these authors on the shelf of my local library. (Oh and speaking of which, did you know you can live stream some Wallander audiobooks through the Toronto Public Library??)

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