Monday, January 28, 2008

Domestic intelligence (Giles Blunt, The Delicate Storm, and a question for readers)

I posted a few days ago about The Delicate Storm by Giles Blunt, noting this Canadian author's ability to chart the humor and hopelessness of small-town life "as well as any American or Swede you’d care to name."

I've since noticed a parallel with one Swede in particular: Henning Mankell. Like that author's White Lioness and, especially, Firewall, The Delicate Storm rather nicely blends small-town life with thriller-like elements of international crime (in this case, the elements involve terrorism of the domestic variety, too.)

This leads to the evening's question for readers: What other novels and stories pull off a similar blend of small-town investigation and international terrorism or financial crime? Think of this as the Daniel Woodrell-meets-John Le Carré question.

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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Blogger Kerrie said...

Not quite sure if these quite meet your criteria Peter

Inspector Anders, whose specialisation is terrorism, has been sent by Europol to Italy to assist in the investigation of the murder of 2
right wing senior politicians. Just after he arrives in Milan, a third is murdered. The cause of their deaths appears to be a serial
killer although the national government is saying terrorism. In returning to italy, in fact his 'home country' after 2 years, Anders is being put into great danger from the Mafia in the South who have threatened to 'get' him, and also from members of the public who hold him responsible for the deaths of innocent people when he hasn't solved terrorism threats quickly enough in the past. There is a nice interweaving of personal issues, such as a book Anders is trying to get published, and a woman friend in Strasbourg whom he is very fond of.

Somebody doesn't want two big European companies to conduct a merger. An estimated 21,000 redundancies will occur if the merger goes ahead. So someone plants a bomb in the boardroom of ChemtexAG, a "fish tank" with walls of unbreakable glass, on the 33rd floor of a Frankfurt office tower. For the 16 directors of the two companies meeting in the room at the time, it is instant death, their remains coating the inside walls of the room just like paint. Interpol, in the person of one-legged Inspector Anders and his off-sider Matucci, are called in. A group called Judgement Day claim responsibility, and seems to have some sort of link with the German terrorism of the 1970s. A message from the terrorists identifies another proposed merger as the next target and suddenly Anders has a race against time on his hands. Not so much a mystery as a thriller, #2 in Marshall Browne's Inspector Anders series. The action moves between Brussels, Strasbourg, and Paris.

January 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm never sure whether you want us to enlighten you, Peter, or if you are the all-knowing teacher setting the class an impromptu exam?

January 29, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kerrie, several people have suggested Marshall Browne to me. Maybe it's time I should read him.

As to whether he or anyone else fits the criteria of the question, it would be difficult to tell without reading the books. What caught my attention about the Henning Mankell books and The Delicate Storm is not so much that they tried to combined small-town life and thriller-like crime, but that they succeeded. I have a feeling, without a lot of evidence to back it up, that this sort of combination is uncommon.

Bookwitch, I am not entirely sure your comment is a compliment, but in this case, I am definitely more a student than a teacher. I found unusual and striking combinations of settings in a few crime novels, and I was highly curious to learn whether more such books were out there.

January 29, 2008  

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