I have a new passion to add to my old one (African American mysteries): contemporary police procedurals set outside the U.S. I had been familiar with, of course, Peter Robinson and Ian Rankin, but a new crop of authors being introduced to American readers has me really excited. I just read Tana French's debut and Sweden's Kjell Erickson's PRINCESS OF BURUNDI. And, of course, I loved Louise Penny's STILL LIFE. My editor at Thomas Dunne is sending me more to feed my addiction. What more can you recommend?

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Karin Fossum (Norway), Henning Mankell (Sweden), Stuart McBride (Scotland), Camillieri (Italy), and, umm, forgot the name at the moment, but there's a Brazilian fellow who's pretty good. Oh, and Indridasson from Iceland. I'm not so impressed with the Asian representatives (China and Thailand), though they've had a lot of press.

I've missed you! I've heard about Mankell, Fossum, and, of course, McBride, but don't know much about Camillieri. I'm supposed to receive more of Eriksson (oops, I had misspelled his name above--that's why I can't get mad when people butcher mine), as well as Iceland’s Arnaldur Indridason, and Sweden’s K.O. Dahl.

What do you think of works in translation? Some writer friends I know won't touch them because they are not reading it in the language of the author. I have no problems with translated works. There's certainly an art to translation that needs to be maintained. If we only read things that were originally written in English, we'd be exposed to only certain parts of the world.

Have you read much Seicho Matsumoto? It's been a while since I've read his books. It would be nice to read a modern-day take on Japan and the police.
Have to look for Matsumoto. And I don't know Dahl yet. Translations don't bother me, though I'm personally very unhappy about a German translation of my own books (the translators couldn't handle noble ranks and elevated my protagonist to a most unlikely level -- when he was clearly poor!). In modern detective novels and police procedurals you generally don't have much stylistic finesse, and police ranks are usually translatable. Translations of literary fiction and poetry are a whole other matter. It is, of course, possible to get a translator whose style is simply awkward, but I have found the books I mentioned to be perfectly fine.

As an afterthought: I just read another Icelandic novel that was poor in content and sometimes awkward, but there I think the fault was with the author. Sometimes you can tell the difference.

I'm very flattered to have been missed, but I've been around. I just don't start topics very often, but that doesn't mean I'm not very grateful to those who come up with great subjects. :)
Yes, I've been the one who has been away from Crimespace. Congrats on the most recent French deal. Spectacular!
Very good police procedurals are written by Arne Dahl (pseudonym of Jan Arnald). The first book translated into English will come out in 2008. And I would second on Indridason.

Jean Claude Izzo is very dark, Fred Vargas presents a very intuitional approach to investigation, Yasmina Khadra is very bitter and very poetic, as is Leonardo Padura, Peter Temple's Broken Shore is a fine book but some native speaker think that its language is rather to clipped.

And Reginald Hill will be familiar to you.
Hmm, I wasn't at all happy with either Fred Vargas (a woman) or Yasmina Khadra (a man). Vargas is simply odd, but I thought Khadra was not a very good writer. But then, the world does not agree with me on either count.
No, it does not. But it also does not agree with me that Mankell would need a good editor. His plots are good but in one paragraph he describes a scene and in the next paragraph he explains it ... unbearable.

Vargas is not really noir or hardboiled, and her books have almost a fairy tale like quality, so yes, you could say she's odd. But she does it well (in my eyes) and I think many people would agree that she is at the moment one of the top five crime writer in Europe.

Khadra is not on that level but his stories are ok and sometimes he delivers brilliant and powerful sentences, like no US or Northern Europe writer would.
Have you tried Val McDermid's Wire in the Blood series? Of course I echo the recommendations of Stuart and Reginald Hill. Also, Mark Billingham's series is set in London, and a few of Simon Kernick's books fall more under the pp series label.

(And I know someone else who has a new series set in Canada...)
Yes, I can't wait to read yours, Sandra.
Forgot to mention that earlier this year I read Fredrich Glauser's THE CHINAMAN: A Sergeant Studer Mystery. It was written in the thirties, so it doesn't fall under contemporary, but it was made available into English recently. It was an odd book, but the setting and characters were especially memorable. I think Glauser himself had a tragic life--spent some years in a mental institution.
I really like Grace Brophy's Commissario Alessandro Cenni police procedural books set in Italy. I saw that Marilyn Stasio gave the second book-A Deadly Paradise-a bad review in tomorrow's NYT (6/8). I don't agree. I loved it. Give it a try. And, Naomi, don't forget we'd love to host you at an At Home next time you're in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I'll be in Northern Cal this weekend, actually, but it's not a good one, considering graduation parties, etc. I'll be up your way again for promotional activities for my middle-grade novel, so we'll definitely set something up at that time!


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