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Crime Fiction from Around the World

Did you know that June is International Crime Fiction month?

Take a spin around the seedier parts of the globe with these detectives and their twisted cases (many are the first of a series)…

 

Finland

Snow Angels
by James Thompson

A beautiful Somalian refugee-turned-actress is found murdered on a reindeer farm, gruesomely mutilated, a racial slur carved into her chest. Inspector Kari Vaara, head of the rural police force, is under great pressure not only to solve this crime himself, without the help of the big-city cops from Helsinki, but also to keep the potentially explosive case out of the news.

 

France

Total Chaos
by Jean-Claud Izzo

Detective Fabio Montale turns his back on a police force marred by corruption and racism, taking the fight against the mafia into his own hands.

 

 

The Chalk Circle Man
by Fred Vargas

Adamsberg is a provincial detective-turned-Parisian-commissioner who can sense evil in people and prefers to doodle instead of following up on clues and interrogating suspects. When blue chalk circles begin to appear on the pavement in neighborhoods around Paris, Adamsberg is alone in thinking that they are far from amusing – until a woman is discovered inside one, with her throat slashed.

 

Iceland

Jar City
by Arnaldur Indriðason

When a lonely old man is found murdered in his Reykjavík flat, the only clues are a cryptic note left by the killer and a photograph of a young girl’s grave. Inspector Erlendur, who heads the investigation team, discovers that many years ago the victim was accused, though not convicted, of an unsolved crime. Did the old man’s past come back to haunt him?

 

 

Istanbul

Belshazzar’s Daughter
by Barbara Nadel

When a brutal murder shocks Istanbul’s rundown Jewish quarter, the Turkish police force unleashes their best weapon – the chain-smoking, brandy-swilling Inspector Cetin Ikmen, husband to a strict Muslim woman (who disapproves of his drinking) and loving father of eight (with another on the way).

 

 

Japan

inspector imanishiInspector Imanishi Investigates
by Seichō Matsumoto

The corpse of an unknown provincial is discovered under the rails of a train in a Tokyo station, and Detective Imanishi is assigned to the case.

 

 

Kenya

Hour of the Red God
by Richard Crompton

Detective Mollel, a former Maasai warrior in Nairobi, investigates the brutal murder of a prostitute and suspects the killing is part of a far more extensive plot associated with the turbulent elections of 2007.

 

 

Laos

The Coroner’s Lunch
by Colin Cotterill

Laos, 1972. The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over. Most of the educated class has fled, but 72-year-old Dr. Siri Paiboun, a Paris-trained doctor, remains and is appointed state coroner. When three bodies are recovered from a reservoir, Dr. Siri establishes that the cause of death was not drowning – they seem to have been electrocuted.

 

 

Norway

The Redbreast
by Jo Nesbo

Police detective Harry Hole accidentally shoots one of the president’s secret service agents during a rehearsal for an upcoming summit meeting – but instead of being fired, he’s promoted to inspector, and begins to piece together disparate threads: threats of violence on Norway’s upcoming Independence Day, the illegal importation of a Marklin rifle (a favored weapon of assassins), and a murder committed outside a pizza parlor frequented by neo-Nazis. [Not the first in the series, but the first translated into English]

 

Poland

Death in Breslau
by Marek Krajewski

Occupied Breslau, 1933: Two young women are found murdered on a train, scorpions writhing on their bodies, an indecipherable note in an apparently oriental language nearby, and Police Inspector Eberhard Mock’s weekly assignation with two ladies of the night is interrupted when he is called to investigate.

 

 

Sweden

The Ice Princess
by Camilla Läckberg

After she returns to her hometown to learn that her friend, Alex, was found in an ice-cold bath with her wrists slashed, biographer Erica Falck researches her friend’s past in hopes of writing a book and joins forces with Detective Patrik Hedstrom, who has his own suspicions about the case.

 

 

United Kingdom

A White Arrest
by Ken Bruen

A serial killer is picking off members of the England cricket team, and in the dark and violent world of Brixton a vigilante group is hanging dope dealers from lamp-posts. Inspector Brant is already in hot water with his chief and needs something big to get him out of it – a “white arrest” – a major catch to whitewash his past sins.

 

Still Midnight
by Denise Mina

Alex Morrow is not new to the police force, but there is nothing familiar about her new case: In a quiet suburb of Glasgow, Scotland, three armed men slipped from a van into a house, demanding a man who has never been, inside the front door. In the confusion one family member is shot and another kidnapped, the assailants demanding an impossible ransom. Is this an amateur crime gone horribly wrong or something much more unexpected?

 

 

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