International Mystery

A couple of years ago I took a class while I was in undergrad about detective fiction. And that is what the class was called… “Detective Fiction”….not mystery, not crime novels, and not thrillers. The basis was to explore different ways that novels are written from the point of view of the detective…or private eye….or police officer. It came to my attention that there are a multitude of ways to not only write detective fiction but different ways to define detective fiction. One of the most interesting books I read was Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. A particular reason for why this intrigued me so much was because it was a Swedish book. And it was popular in America. It was my first step into international mystery books.

The Bat Cover


Recently, my interest in international mystery books has been piqued again. The library I work in received a new shipment of books by Jo Nesbo and I began to do research. He is also a Nordic writer who has become popular in the US for his mystery writing. Therefore, I picked up one of his books and loved it. The Bat is the first book in his Harry Hole series, and I think it is wonderfully written.

The book easily grabs the reader’s attention and Nesbo has a style of writing that is fun and easy to follow. The book takes place in Australia (which means the book is written about a Norwegian detective in Australia) but doesn’t focus on all the differences and does not make the story hard to understand. It goes by rather quickly for a murder mystery.

The Troubled Man cover

Of course I couldn’t base my judgement on international mysteries on just two authors. I had to make it three, so I read The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell, which happens to be the last book in the Wallander series. I’m going to be honest, I had to Google him to remember the book I read. Now that doesn’t actually mean the book was bad, for me it means that it was long.

The book is written about a detective who meets a submarine captain and the ensuing mystery that takes place. It has spies and intrigue…but also talks a lot about the technical aspects of submarines (which I can’t begin to comprehend completely) and a lot about his personal life, which made the book very long. However, if you start from the beginning and like the character the last book might be much better than I think.

Enjoy solving some mysteries! And maybe traveling to a new place through reading.



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6 responses to “International Mystery

  1. Have you ever read the Maisie Dobbs detective series by Jacqueline Winspear? It’s wonderful!

  2. lectorconstans

    Up till now, “international mystery” meant Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers &c. Thanks for those references. The Larsson books are a bit gritty for me, but the others sound worth looking for.

    Other countries to follow?

  3. lizzy

    The Wallender TV series with Kenneth Branagh might be of interest to you…

  4. I love Jo Nesbo’s books. I haven’t read any of the Wallander books but the series with Kenneth Branagh is so great. Have you read any Camilla Lackberg? She’s my go-to for Scandinavian crime fiction these days. Start with The Ice Princess.

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