“Three factors underpin the success of Nordic crime fiction: language, heroes and setting. Niclas Salomonsson, a literary agent who represents almost all the up and coming Scandinavian crime writers, reckons it is the style of the books, “realistic, simple and precise…and stripped of unnecessary words”, that has a lot to do with it. The plain, direct writing, devoid of metaphor, suits the genre well.
The Nordic detective is often careworn and rumpled. Mr Mankell’s Wallander is gloomy, troubled and ambivalent about his father. Mr Indridason’s Inspector Erlendur lives alone after a failed marriage, haunted by the death of his younger brother many years before in a blizzard that he survived. Mr Nesbo’s leading man, Inspector Harry Hole—often horribly drunk—is defiant of his superiors yet loyal to his favoured colleagues.”