What makes a Swedish crime novel Swedish? (Or an Italian crime novel Italian? or ...)
What was the giveaway? It wasn't cold weather or earnest leftist politics, and it wasn't a dour protagonist with bad digestion. Rather, the clue in this book (The Nightmare, by Lars Kepler) was that the lead police investigator does not make his first appearance until after the action is well under way and, once he does show up, he's less prominent than many police protagonists are.
Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, who elevated the diaeresis to a position of prominence unprecedented in crime fiction, did it first, and writers including Norway's Karin Fossum have followed suit. Since then I've always thought of the late-appearing police protagonist as a Nordic thing, perhaps as an example of Sjöwall and Wahlöö's politics.
What makes a Swedish crime novel typically Swedish for you? An Italian crime novel typically Italian? An American novel typically American? Pick a country, and tell me what you regard as typical features of that country's crime fiction.
© Peter Rozovsky 2012