Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. February 19: Top Ten Favorite Characters In X Genre Fun! I'm going to choose a subgenre, Nordic crime fiction, since I'm behind on my book reviews for these books and it's a subgenre I've really been enjoying. I'm listing them by author, then character name, then the first book in the series. Where I have a review, I will link to it from the title. I'll work on reviewing the others as soon as possible. Frankly, these are in no particular order because it's hard enough for me to choose favorites, much less rank them. 1. Quentin Bates - Officer Gunnhildur (FROZEN ASSETS and COLD COMFORT): "'Gunna? Can't miss her. She's a big fat lass with a face that frightens the horses.'" An exaggeration, and one told with affection, for though Gunna is stubborn as a mule and often deliberately contrary, she is an excellent investigator. This series is written by British Quentin Bates, who lived for a time in Iceland, where the series is set. 2. Arnaldur Indridason - Inspector Erlendur (JAR CITY)Another Icelandic police procedural, this one with several books in the series. Not only is Erlendur an inspector to remember, his partner Sigurdur Oli and female colleague Elinborg are also richly drawn. 3. Karin Fossum - Inspector Sejer (DON'T LOOK BACK): This Norwegian series by "Queen of Crime" Fossum features the introspective detective and his young sidekick. 4. Anne Holt - Hanne Wilhelmsen mysteries (BLIND GODDESS, though I read 1222 first): Another Norwegian series, this one features the unstoppable Hanne. In 1222, she is trapped with other train passengers in a snowed-in hotel. It's an excellent locked-door mystery with moments of humor from Hanne's abrasive personality. 5. Jussi Adler-Olsen - Detective Superintendent Carl Morck (THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES and THE ABSENT ONE): This one is Danish. Morck is deeply flawed, his career thrown off track by an injury. A promotion to head "Department Q" turns out to be exile in the basement. He demands an assistant and ends up with Assad, an excellent character in his own right, who does everything from scrub the floor to ferreting out clues.If I were actually trying to rank these, I might put this one at the top. Hmmm. 6. Hakan Nesser - Inspector Van Veeteren (BORKMANN'S POINT): Van Veeteren is a Swedish Poirot, firmly believing that a bit of thinking is all that is needed to solve a crime. He uses his amiable charm to extract the information he needs. 7. Lene Kaaberbol - Nina Borg (THE BOY IN THE SUITCASE, INVISIBLE MURDER): Nina is a Danish nurse and mother of two. She is drawn into an investigation when a package she picks up for a friend turns out to hold a drugged young boy. (That this is a female sleuth written by two women and centered on the exploitation of women and children is a feminist bonus.) 8. Mons Kallentoft - Superintendent Malin Fors (MIDWINTER BLOOD)Swedish female Superintendent Malin Fors is young but talented, balancing her parenting of a teenager with her aggressive pursuit of criminals. The mother/cop combination makes for an interesting read. 9. Yrsa Sigurdardottir - Thora Gundmunsdottir (LAST RITUALS): This one is from Iceland as well. Thora is an attorney and single mother pulled into a murder investigation. 10. Asa Larsson - Rebecka Martinsson (SUN STORM): Rebecka is a Stockholm attorney who returns to her hometown in the far north of Sweden, where she was involved with a strange church now implicated in a murder. Please note that Henning Menkell's Kurt Wallender is not here. I know this is a glaring omission. Believe it or not, I haven't read him yet.