English Translations of Scandinavian/Nordic Mysteries & Thrillers discussion

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The Loner in Scandinavian Crime Detective Fiction

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message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 352 comments American literature has a very long tradition of the loner who stands outside or above society, as the hero of novels going back to the works of Melville, Hawthorne and Fenimore Cooper. This is continued not only in more recent pieces of fiction like Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird and the iconic noir detective Philip Marlow, but also in films like Dirty Harry, multiple cowboy films notably Shane and even more recently in the Vietnam war films of Coppola and Oliver Stone.

It is a fine tradition and one that does not exist in British or French literature. So to get back to the subject of crime detectives, most of the notable British ones have a partner, be it Holmes and Watson, Morse and Lewis or indeed Rebus, who whilst perhaps the most alone relies heavily on his sergeant for support.

From my reading most Scandinavian detectives seem to follow the loner route. I was therefore wondering if this is a longstanding tradition of Scandinavian literature or is it just a recent reflection of popular American culture.


message 2: by Ken, Moderator (U.S.A.) (new)

Ken Fredette (klfredette) | 4223 comments Mod
It's not a given, Anne Holt has Adam and Johanne working together. Our friendly Finn has Kari with a crew of thief's Milo and Sweetness.
There's a kind of character that is in most novels such as a partner that isn't working on the case or a love interest keeping the action going. I don't see that many Scandinavian detectives other than HH going it alone.


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 352 comments Kenneth, you are much more widely read in this genre than me so you may well be right. Jim's Kari Vaara is definitely not a loner in this sense, but I was thinking of Wallander, Erlendur, Van Veeteren and Lisbeth Salander as well as HH - the first three may have colleagues but they seem rather disdainful of their input and so stand alone.


message 4: by Sharon, Moderator (Netherlands) (new)

Sharon | 2420 comments Mod
Ian wrote: "Kenneth, you are much more widely read in this genre than me so you may well be right. Jim's Kari Vaara is definitely not a loner in this sense, but I was thinking of Wallander, Erlendur, Van Veete..."

Yes but know who to trust and call in when required IMO. Rebecca Martinsson too.


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