Friday, November 20, 2009

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest

I'm chuffed. The St. Albert Public Library is the first Alberta library to get a copy of the new Stieg Larsson novel, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, into patrons' hands! It looks like Vancouver Public Library beat us to the national title. This is the third and final book of the Millennium Trilogy that Larsson handed into his publisher before he passed away in 2004. Hornet's Nest won't be published in North America until May or June 2010, but we have a single copy of the 2009 British edition (by way of purchase in Australia). The first two of the trilogy:

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2008) 
The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009)

This situation is an unusual publishing world quirk. However, it isn't uncommon for British titles to be published in Canada before the American edition. Booker prize nominees often are unavailable in the US but available here. Hilary Mantel's novel, Wolf Hall, wasn't due for US publication until 2010 - until it won the Booker Prize and the release date was moved forward. See, keeping Canada's remaining links with the motherland has its perks! Rule Britannia!

With only one copy available you may have to be patient waiting for Hornet's Nest. Bide your time with some other great Scandinavian crime fiction. The recent BBC series starring Kenneth Branagh as Ystad, Sweden detective Kurt Wallander has made the books by Henning Mankell more popular than ever. [Library has the series on DVD] In the summer of 2009 Branagh filmed three more of the books in Sweden. Below is a list of the Wallander books in chronological reading order. The Pyramid is a group of stories Mankell wrote later that fill in some of the gaps in Wallander's life history. Faceless Killers was the novel that first introduced Wallander to readers. Below the Wallander titles, with BBC I meaning a title filmed for last year's Branagh series, BBC II for the upcoming series filmed the summer of 2009.

Mankell brought forward a new detective, Inspector Stefan Lindman, in The Return of the Dancing Master (2000). There are some links to Wallander in the book. More recently Manning made Wallander's daughter Linda a detective in Before the Frost  (2002).

A third Swedish crime writer, Hakan Nesser, was called the "odd man out" amongst the trio of Mankell, Larsson and Nesse by The Times. Nesser's detective is Chief Inspector Van Veeteren, with the novels taking place in Maardam in a country that seems a mixture of Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany.

Next door in Norway we have some great crime writers, including Karin Fossum, who I have recommended before. Fossum's mystery series focuses on small-town police Inspector Konrad Sejer, with more psycholical thriller to them than Mankell's procedurals. Here are the Sejer books available in English so far:

For more Swedish crime check out Camilla Läckberg's Top 10 Swedish Crime Novels from The Guardian. (burial ground in Wallander's Ystad below)


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