© 2012

Death in a Cold Climate

A Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction

  • Authors

Part of the Crime Files Series book series (CF)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 1-15
  3. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 16-20
  4. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 21-33
  5. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 34-48
  6. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 64-68
  7. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 69-80
  8. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 81-95
  9. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 96-104
  10. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 105-126
  11. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 127-134
  12. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 135-143
  13. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 144-156
  14. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 157-169
  15. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 170-181
  16. Barry Forshaw
    Pages 182-191
  17. Back Matter
    Pages 192-207

About this book


Barry Forshaw, the UK's principal crime fiction expert, presents a celebration and analysis of the Scandinavian crime genre, from Sjöwall and Wahlöö's Martin Beck series through Henning Mankell's Wallander to Stieg Larsson's demolition of the Swedish Social Democratic ideal in the publishing phenomenon The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo .


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About the authors

Barry Forshaw's books include Death in a Cold Climate, British Crime Film, The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction, Italian Cinema, British Crime Writing: An Encyclopaedia , and a biography of Stieg Larsson. He has written for a variety of newspapers, Crime Time, and is a talking head for ITV author profiles and BBC documentaries.

Bibliographic information


'Death in a Cold Climate is both intelligent and perceptive. Humble it is not. It is, to my knowledge, the most complete guide to Scandinavian crime fiction yet written in any language, an invaluable companion for anyone interested in the genre.'

- Mons Kallentoft, Financial Times

'Extensive, penetrating and intelligently written, Barry Forshaw's book is the most fulfilling work on the strange genre of Nordic Noir I have ever encountered.'

- Håkan Nesser, author of The Inspector and Silence

'Death in a Cold Climate is a comprehensive and authoritative guide to the fictional underbelly of the Nordic psyche, whose popularity has become the publishing sensation of the century. Perceptive, witty and awesomely well-researched.'

- Andrew Taylor, author of The American Boy

'Far more than a checklist, this is the essential guide through the snowdrifts of Nordic Noir.'

Val McDermid, author of The Wire in the Blood

'...Surely this is the Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction, as the UK's foremost crime fiction expert Barry Forshaw has gone definitive here with a triumphant volume that should sit proudly on every crime fiction fan's bookshelf. If you wanted a guide to take you down the dark and deadly streets of crime fiction, Mr Forshaw's your man [...] Entertaining and informative in equal measures, it provides insightful background to the books most crime fans will be familiar with and love, plus bang up to date information on new and upcoming authors and titles to watch out for, all through great essays and interview pieces. With sections from authors, translators & publishers, UK release dates and original dates of publication this is a tombe overflowing with reference and deep research and, above all else, an undying passion for the genre[...]The book closes with a fantastic bibliography and index to enable the volume to be put to use for years to come every time you pick up a new Scandinavian crime fiction title or wish to seek out a new read.'

- Keith B Walters, We Love this Book

'With customary depth and precision, Forshaw gets under the skin of this celebrated genre, uncovering many of its secrets and riches. Like its subjects, this book is hard to put down, and will undoubtedly be returned to time and again.'

- Dr Steven Peacock, University of Hertfordshire, UK

'In his excellent new book, Death in a Cold Climate: A Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction, Barry Forshaw throws a revealing light on the phenomenon of the Nordic policier (interestingly, the French slang term for the crime films and the detective novel is "le polar"). He distinguishes between the different countries, between male and female writers, and sees a clear line reaching down from the shared background of bloody, painful Icelandic sagas and Nordic mythology, through the dark social and psychological explorations of Ibsen and Strindberg and on into the 20th-century experience of war, occupation, resistance, collaboration and neutrality guilt.' - Philip French, the Observer

'A fascinating, comprehensive and very enjoyable overview of the publishing phenomenon that is Nordic noir, placing it in a cultural and historical context, with insightful contributions from writers, translators and editors - an essential reading guide for lovers of the crime genre.'

- Laura Wilson, crime fiction critic, The Guardian

'Essential reading for anyone seeking clues to the next Jo Nesbø.' - PD Smith, The Guardian

'Barry Forshaw's forensic feeling for snow is coloured by the quantity and quality of blood spilled on it in recent years by Nordic crime writers. The dash of publishers to find "the next Stieg Larsson" and their hyping of Jo Nesbø as "the next Henning Mankell" indicates the strength of cold climate killing as a subgenre of crime fiction... This overview of a literary phenomenon is as definitive as any aficionado could hope for.'

- Iain Finlayson, The Times

'The sudden triumphant rise of Nordic mystery stories is a fascinating puzzle of modern literature. With forensic intelligence, captivating characters, riveting clues and sub-plots, Barry Forshaw investigates and satisfyingly explains what happened.'

- Mark Lawson

'Not a stone is left unturned in Barry Forshaw's witty, encyclopedic investigation into the fictional crimes that have made Scandinavia the most talked about region in the world of books. Death in a Cold Climate is a unique and admirable personal testament to the writers, translators and publishers who have dedicated themselves to introducing Scandinavian crime fiction, its many languages and cultures, to the English speaking world. If upon turning the last page of Forshaw's book you are not immediately heading for the nearest bookstore to buy up every Scandinavian crime novel on its shelves, you were probably not meant to read this book in the first place.'

- Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, University College London, UK

'What Barry Forshaw doesn't know about crime fiction, to borrow an old phrase, isn't worth knowing. A journalist, chronicler of the genre, and talking head for the CWA Awards, with Death in a Cold Climate he covers in depth the extraordinarily popular sub-genre that is Nordic noir...Through interviews with authors and translators, Forshaw offers in-depth takes on the cream of the Nordic informative and educational effort from perhaps the nation's leading expert in the field.' - Dennis O'Donnell,

'...a comprehensive guide to the Nordic noir mystery genre.' - Christopher Silvester, Daily Express

'For those of you who take your crime fiction seriously, Barry Forshaw has produced Death in a Cold Climate, an excellent new guide to Scandinavian crime fiction.' - Jessica Mann, The Literary Review

'Through an exploration of culture, politics and history, and in fascinating interviews with writers, editors and translators, Forshaw unravels the mystery of the snowbound murder's huge appeal in this enjoyable guide; an essential companion to any collection of Nordic crime novels.' - The Good Book Guide

'Forshaw writes with enthusiasm, knowledge and attention to detail...Death in a Cold Climate can be read cover to cover or dipped into using the comprehensive index. This is a work you will want to finish, though: Forshaw's descriptions whet the reader's appetite to read more Scandinavian crime fiction...' - Swedish Book Review

'This book is recommended for those interested in the recent publishing phenomenon of the Nordic Noir genre, for those following courses of European contemporary literature, and to general readers who have seen Wallander and The Killing on TV.' - Eric Jukes, Reference Reviews

'...the great strength of Death in a Cold Climate for academic readers and translators is the broad picture it paints of the publishing industry. The interviews from a range of translators, publishers and authors give the book a lot of authentic material and this is will prove valuable for anyone studying the translation of Nordic crime.' - Jonathan Evans, The Journal of Specialised Translation