I thought I had nothing to learn. As someone who has written four books on the subject, edited a variety of magazines and interviewed most of the key authors, you won’t be surprised to hear that my standards are exacting when it comes to any new entries in studies of the Scandinavian crime fiction field. And those exacting standards (I’m happy to say) are both met and comprehensively surpassed by this exemplary study. And — in all immodesty — I thought there was not much that I could be taught. I was wrong! In fact, I’ve been aware of the work of Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen since he and I both appeared (separately) in the BBC TV documentary Nordic Noir, and over the years we have done a variety of panels and events together, including the Krimimessen Crime Festival in Stougaard-Nielsen’s native Denmark. Leaving aside any generous disposition I may feel towards a colleague, I have to say that objectively speaking, he is one of the pre-eminent commentators on the genre, taking on the societal and psychological elements of Nordic Noir with a precision worthy of some of the great Nordic detectives.

In this academic but accessible volume, the familiar themes of the field (notably the flaws of the societies in which the murderous activities of Nordic Noir take place) are treated with an analytical precision that both anatomises the key elements for those new to the genre and finds myriad new insights for old hands like myself.

Scandinavian Crime Fiction becomes, at a stroke, a key work in the ongoing analysis of Nesbo, Larsson, Fossum, Mankell & Co., crammed with acute observation from a man whose knowledge and understanding of the genre is nonpareil.

Scandinavian Crime Fiction by Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen

Bloomsbury, 9781472527745

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