Scandinavian/Nordic Mysteries

Mysteries and thrillers set in Scandinavia and the Nordic countries. Bonus points for ones by Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic or Norwegian authors.
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288 books · 615 voters · list created December 8th, 2010 by El (votes) .
363 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


El 350 books
36 friends
Grant 817 books
10 friends
Jill 1127 books
55 friends
Wis 893 books
3 friends
Riikka 1225 books
82 friends
colleen 12016 books
102 friends
Herge2us 184 books
0 friends
Shellie (Layers of Thought) 6900 books
950 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-39 of 39 (39 new)

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message 1: by Riikka (new)

Riikka To be accurate only Sweden, Norway and Denmark are actually Scandinavian countries. If you count in also Finland and Iceland you should talk about Nordic countries, albeit it is less known name. Just saying. I have nothing against the name staying as it is, but I'd love the description to call the countries Nordic, not Scandinavian. :)


message 2: by El (new)

El Okay that is a fair point. I don't think most people outside of the region make that distinction, but I'll change it.


message 3: by Riikka (new)

Riikka Thank you! I know what you mean (I have even argued about this with a Swedish person...), but it makes me (a Finn) so happy when someone actually recognizes the difference.


message 4: by El (new)

El It's nice to know I put a smile on someone's face today : )


message 5: by Amanda Francis (new)

Amanda  Francis I also have called it Scandinavian! A Dane told me Finland & Iceland were included 0_0


message 6: by Riikka (new)

Riikka Well, it's rather common to call all of the Nordic countries Scandinavian in English, but if you want to be exact Nordic countries is the right term. I guess this is closer to heart to us Finns since we don't want to be called Scandinavian. :D

If you want to read more about the difference I can recommend the Wikipedia articles about Nordic countries and Scandinavia. They are actually rather good articles.


message 7: by Aaron (new)

Aaron My vote is to call it "Scandinavian" because it REALLY pisses my Finnish friends off when you include Finland in Scandinavia. Culturally, historically, even Culinary, Finland is as much of Scandinavia as the rest of them are. I'm just saying. Actually, I love the Finns. Suomi RULES!


message 8: by Riikka (new)

Riikka Finland also has strong cultural, historical and culinary to the east, not only to Scandinavia. Also Finnish language is not a Scnadinavian language, but belongs to a completely different language family.

And yes, I can definitely relate to your Finnish friends Aaron. :D


message 9: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Riikka wrote: "Finland also has strong cultural, historical and culinary to the east, not only to Scandinavia. Also Finnish language is not a Scnadinavian language, but belongs to a completely different language ..."

Truth, Finno-Ugric family is not Teutonic.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads It is, in fact, not Indo-European. It is the other major language group found in Europe.


message 11: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Susanna wrote: "It is, in fact, not Indo-European. It is the other major language group found in Europe."

Is it related to Basque, do you know ?


message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim As a Finno-Ugrian (of the Hungarian branch), I can say that Basque is sui generis -- no relatives.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads As far as I know, Basque is an isolate, with no known relatives either living or extinct.


message 14: by ???!!! (new)

???!!! finally find this thread, so excited. I'm so happy that I've read and also rated the same to almost all of your top 10s. Besides from being a Scandinavian, can you guys tell me what intrigues you to read novels from there?


message 15: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn ???!!! wrote: "finally find this thread, so excited. I'm so happy that I've read and also rated the same to almost all of your top 10s. Besides from being a Scandinavian, can you guys tell me what intrigues you..."

Well, they write such intriquing novels.


message 16: by ???!!! (new)

???!!! o, comeon,be a little specific, is it the storyline, plotting, pace, description....... In other words, what are the differences btwn American novels and Scandinavian novels?


message 17: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn ???!!! wrote: "o, comeon,be a little specific, is it the storyline, plotting, pace, description....... In other words, what are the differences btwn American novels and Scandinavian novels?"

The Scandinavian novels take me to Scandinavia, and there's not so much Bible-banging as one finds in America.... Read all of Sigrid Unset years ago, suddenly there's Kurt Wallender , Stieg Larsson, Smila's Sense of Snow, Icelandic mysteries. I live in Cincinnati where the old Germanic culture is melting into the McAmerican ugliness. Love to get away. Travel, yeah. "There is no frigate like a book, " said Emily Dickenson. Speaking of specificity.... I'll think of you as "Panda-with-urgent-questions" 'kay ?


message 18: by ???!!! (new)

???!!! If you look close enough it's a panda in shock! Kinda tells you that mystery and thrillers are my favorites. It wasn't till five years ago that I started reading Hakan Nessar which than introduced me to many Swedish authors. So far my favorites are Mankell and Indriason. So happy this thread leads me to more good Swedish authors.

Yes, I enjoyed the authors description of the landscape, mostly cold, snowy winter scenes. Most of the books would even print out a map for visual understanding of the geography. Whereas, the main characters are like lone wolf searching for bits and pieces of information, sometimes long long ago.


message 19: by Nancy (new)

Nancy I adore Nordic mysteries - so atmospheric and almost invariably intelligent. Have read 90% of the lists, and am in a state of anxiety when I read that one of my favorite authors has birthed a new book. I am German, from Chicago, living in northern Minnesota - and a great-grandmother who obviously loves to read. Viva a good mystery!!


message 20: by Eduardo (new)

Eduardo This list is superb. Thanks for all this books.


message 21: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Nancy wrote: "I adore Nordic mysteries - so atmospheric and almost invariably intelligent. Have read 90% of the lists, and am in a state of anxiety when I read that one of my favorite authors has birthed a new ..."

Have you read any of Arnaldur Indrithason ? His detective is a long-sufferer comparable to Kurt Wallander but somehow more likeable. I recommend Jar City to anyone who likes a gloomy rummaging through the hardscabble lives of "little" people.


message 22: by Carmen (new)

Carmen This is a great list! I discovered Nordic mysteries a few years ago and got hooked. Thanks for all the new authors to read.


message 23: by Linden (new)

Linden I'm delighted to find this list! The character development in Nordic mysteries is almost always excellent...so much is revealed with few words! I'm usually disappointed when I read mysteries other than these now.


message 24: by Jorge (new)

Jorge Nice to see there are so many fans of Nordic literature. I was also glad to see Basque language mentioned, as a Basque speaker and reader. In fact, the origin of basque is still a mystery. Thanks


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you for thist list! I´m an fan of Nordic literature and it´s been very helpfull!!! My best regards
Pedro Ramires


message 26: by Kiley (new)

Kiley Thank you for compiling this list, can't wait to dig into some more of these.


message 27: by Jayne (new)

Jayne Subwick Thank you for this list. I've recently "discovered" several Scandinavian authors and now I have several more to add to my list.


message 28: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia Librarian note: removed two irrelevant books:
- Ian McEwan by Dominic Head, a critical study of a British author
- King's Throne by Bianca d'Arc, a paranormal romance apparently set in the USA


message 29: by Carole (new)

Carole Riikka wrote: "To be accurate only Sweden, Norway and Denmark are actually Scandinavian countries. If you count in also Finland and Iceland you should talk about Nordic countries, albeit it is less known name. Ju..."

Riikka wrote: "To be accurate only Sweden, Norway and Denmark are actually Scandinavian countries. If you count in also Finland and Iceland you should talk about Nordic countries, albeit it is less known name. Ju..."

Riikka wrote: "To be accurate only Sweden, Norway and Denmark are actually Scandinavian countries. If you count in also Finland and Iceland you should talk about Nordic countries, albeit it is less known name. Ju..."


message 30: by Carole (new)

Carole Are Scandinavians also Nordic? This is like discussing , is a cactus a succulent, or are succulents cacti ?
And another recent discussion what is / who are Latino? Are people from New Mexico Latino? Are Mexicans latino?


message 32: by Carole (new)

Carole Thank you for clarification, however I generally don't use Wikipedia as a reference. Too many opinions not facts. Anyone can add to Wikipedia. I know very little about Scandinavian or Nordic literature. But, I discovered Hennings Mankel a couple of years ago and enjoyed reading several of his books and movies. I would like to read other Scandinavian / Nordic authors, but don't know who to try next. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance!


message 33: by Antonomasia (last edited Feb 14, 2016 02:30PM) (new)

Antonomasia All the info there on the meanings of Scandinavia / the Nordic countries / Fennoscandia / the Scandinavian peninsula concurs with what I've read elsewhere, books, articles etc. The link saved me writing stuff out. Wikipedia is considerably better than it used to be and there are many articles that show signs of academic input if you know the topic. Although that's not to say there are no errors.

If you want modern-classic procedurals like Mankell, the obvious choice is Sjowall & Wahloo's Martin Beck series. If you place a lot of importance on writing style in mysteries, among the best contemporary Nordic ones are Arnaldur Indridason and Johan Theorin. Also depends what kind of characters you are looking for. One of my GR friends who likes a change from the stereotypical moody, drunken sort of detective likes Camilla Lackberg's books.
There are plenty of series with strong female leads but unfortunately the writing in those I know isn't quite as good. (I quite like Anne Holt's Hanne Wilhelmsen regardless) - though Kerstin Ekman's Blackwater is a standalone crime novel by a literary writer.

If you mean Scandinavian / Nordic authors of stuff other than crime & thrillers, there are plenty here:
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...
Also, searching for lists by individual country names should find more stuff.
If you keep up with press reviews, you will have heard more than enough about Knausgard and The Hundred Year Old Man already.
Some contemporary ones that are both literary and approachable: Per Petterson; adults' books by Tove Jansson; Sjon
Other light stuff on a par with 100YOM: A Man Called Ove, The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.

A few classic authors who are reasonably easy to find: Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter; Knut Hamsun, esp Hunger; Tarjei Vesaas; Halldor Laxness; The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson if you like adventure stories. Icelandic sagas - not that I've read lots - have quite a plain style in translation and can be faster to read than some assume; not dissimilar to the style of mystery and thrillers, because they both concentrate on action.


message 34: by bythelake23 (new)

bythelake23 can this list be collapsible to series? it'd be easier to navigate then, I'd think?


message 35: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia That would be a great idea but unfortunately it's not a function that exists on Goodreads.


message 36: by Greg (new)

Greg "Devil's Star" is a rip off of Agatha Christie's "A.B.C Murders". All Nesbo does is add a dead woman's finger up a man's rectum. Get it? Harry Hole clamps down on a dead finger. If that's your thing, fine, go for it!


message 37: by Becky (new)

Becky Lien Is here is a sub-list of the list above, that includes just the writers from the Scandinavian/Nordic countries? Thanks


message 38: by John (new)

John Jo Nesbo is by far the best detective in the group! I've read about 80% of the list, and find the Harry Hole series to be the most enjoyable by far! He is a tough gritty detective that takes in as much pain as he dishes out. There is no backing down with Harry Hole. He understands loneliness, but wants to love and be loved. A truly completely developed character, and the setting couldn't be more appropriate for explaining the type of man that is produced in such a hard, rugged environment. I love Harry Hole!


message 39: by John (new)

John Sorry! Meant to say Jo Nesbo is the best detective writer in the group!


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