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Death in a Cold Climate: A Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction (Crime Files) Paperback – 13 Jan 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2012 edition (13 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230361447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230361447
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 458,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'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 crop...an informative and educational effort from perhaps the nation's leading expert in the field.' - Dennis O'Donnell, bookgeeks.co.uk
'...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

Book Description

A celebration and analysis of Scandinavian crime fiction, one of the most successful literary genres, with a focus on books, films and TV adaptations of authors such as Stieg Larsson.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Barry Forshaw,an expert writer and presenter on crime fiction,
has produced a stimulating,extensive and innovative book on
Scandinavian crime fiction.
He gives space to crime fiction from Sweden,Norway,Iceland,
Finland and Denmark,but is at pains to show that whilst these
may be lumped together and called Scandinavian crime fiction,
there are crucial differences and unique features about each
of the above countries which are reflected in the novels.
Pretty well all the current authors available at present in
English translation are covered,and apart from Forshaw's
thoughtful and often provoking comments on many of the books,
this volume also includes illuminating interviews with many
of the authors.Additionally, and unusually, the book also carries
interviews with translators and publishers,which I found most
This is a very welcome book,that has enhanced my enjoyment and
knowledge of the genre.
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Barry Forshaw's latest foray into the world of crime fiction is essential reading for anyone interested (either in passing or depth) in the world of Nordic Noir. From Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo to Jo Nesbo; from Henning Mankell to Steig Larsson; from Hakan Nesser to Anne Holt - the players are there. Forget the Icelandic woes and immerse yourself into this fascinating book. You might need a warm brandy whilst doing it, though!
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"Death in a Cold Climate" is a sloppy book, poorly structured with lots of repetition - sometimes even in the same paragraph - and clunky prose, but nonetheless it is a very valuable and very up-to-date account of the rise of Scandinavian crime fiction, so I'll focus on the positive. The book includes (in approximate descending order of allocated space) Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland, so it includes all the Nordic countries (except the Faroes, which as far as I know haven't yet produced any crime fiction translated into English). There is also some coverage of work by British writers set in Scandinavia, which is a bonus (I have already ordered two Michael Ridpath novels set in Iceland which I was previously unaware of).

Forshaw doesn't attempt - wisely in my view - a complete run-down of every Scandinavian crime novel in English, instead covering all the authors that I at least know of, and more, by reference to selected titles. On Henning Mankell, for example, he has perhaps more to say about the non-Wallander novels than the Wallander ones, which is probably sensible given since surely everyone likely to read this book will be more than familiar with Wallander from the books and TV adaptations. Considerable space is given to interviews with authors, translators and English-language editors, and these are in many respects the best parts of the book (although they also suffer from repetition). I found the various discussions on translation particularly interesting, with editors and translators together trying to find the right balance between remaining true to the original text while making the story accessible to readers in a different language.
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Forshaw's book provides an insightful and accessible guide to the ongoing phenomenon of Nordic Noir. With the recent successes of 'The Killing', 'Borgen', and 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' on television and at the cinema, as well as the established popularity of Wallander (Henning Mankell) and the Millennium trilogy (Stieg Larsson), the time is absolutely right for such an informative and illuminating volume. Forshaw is a renowned and respected expert in the area, and draws on an impressive array of interview material (from authors, journalists, and scholars) to texture his accounts of Scandinavian crime fiction. Popular texts like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Snowman are discussed from fresh perspectives that open them out to the reader in new ways. Lesser-known titles are given equal space, providing the reader with an essential list of writers and books to develop their enjoyment of the genre. With 'Death in a Cold Climate', Forshaw presents a perfect companion to the wintry landscapes and murky goings-on of the Nordic underworld. A must-read.
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Having read as many Nordic thrillers as I can in translation. I looked forward to this avidly hoping to find some new names. There are some new authors here but mainly the usual suspects. I come from a background of technical literature and consultantcy reports. Therefore I expect an ordered presentation. I find the book rather disorganised with the same topics appearing in different places. The three main themes, national identities and social mores for each Nordic state, the effect of translation on our perception of the author (very important) and synopses of individual books. Much is made of the effect of politics on the writing. In my view there are bad books or good books Why put someone off Sjowall and Wahloo or Sapper just read them as cracking novels. So less banging on about politics please like the Danes.
One weakness of many Nordic writers which is never mentioned is uniformity of plot structure across a series of novels. Lackeberg, Nesser and Jungstedt spring to mind among others. To my mind this makes Mankel,Sjowall and Wahloo,and Larsson far better writers and what about Jan Kjaerstad. On one level his Wergeland trilogy can be read as a murder mystery as can Edwin Drood.
Finally in the section on film and TV a mention if English Language DVDs can be obtained please. Someone suggested from Australia.
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