This is the final part of my three part post on the three of the best authors in Nordic Crime Fiction.
To read the previous two posts in this series, click links below
#3. Mr. Jussi Adler-Olsen (Denmark)
Mr. Jussi Adler-Olsen is the author of the famous Department Q Series and the book that I am going to talk about is its first. I found this book after going through many others in this genre (I shall mention those books at the end of this post). After Jo Nesbo’s books, I was absolutely hooked onto Nordic crime like a fish out of water. I browsed through goodreads searching desperately for more such crime novel and I was lucky to have come across the Department Q Series.
The first book in the series is The Keeper of Lost Causes.
This book starts out with the establishment of the Department Q that goes on to become infamous/notorious in the subsequent books. Department Q is a department with just one detective, Carl Mørck, who also happens to be the head of this department. Carl Mørck, one of the best homicide detectives of Copenhagen in his time, has withered away to a fraction of who he used to be. This is largely due to crushing guilt over an incident involving a gun fight with criminals where he failed to draw his weapon to protect follow officers leading to the death of one and spinal paralysis of another.
Department Q is formed as an answer and an appeasement to the local politicians and the general public who want the police to solve high profile cold cases that have been forgotten. The Police Department Chief is eager to funnel the government funds for Department Q into his other police divisions. As an eyewash, he decides to promote Carl Mørck out of his current department and into the newly created Department Q as the head and sole detective. Carl Mørck is moved out and into the basement to keep him away from bringing down the mood of the Police HQ with his depression and lack of initiative.
Being moved to the basement seems almost too perfect for Mørck, who just wants to be left alone. He has no intention of solving any cases. However, the novel wouldn’t obviously be all that fun to read if everything just stopped there. Mørck gets an eccentric and mysterious assistant who is a janitor, a secretary and side-kick all rolled in one. This duo goes on to solve the case of a missing government official who has been presumed dead.
A lot of people like to say that Nordic crime mantra is to make sure that the protagonist is a damaged broken person with a depressing past. Which is certainly true in this case as well as with Harry Hole and Lisbeth Salander. That doesn’t make the novels any less interesting. If anything, it makes you sympathize more with the protagonists because they have to try and fix the problems of the world while their own is in pieces.
Read the books! And then come back here and tell me if you loved or hated them. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Here are a few honorable mentions. These books/authors are a few of the other crime fiction that I have enjoyed but who did not make it to the top 3.
- Fjällbacka Series by Camilla Lackberg (Sweden)
- Inspector Ian Rutledge Series by Charles Todd (London) — not technically scandinavian crime, but the protagonist is just as depressing.
- Kurt Wallander Series by Henning Mankell (Sweden)
- Dublin Murder Squad Series by Tana French
- Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith