When English readers read Scandinavian crime fiction, they sometimes ask for a stronger sense of place. As someone dwelling in the area I cannot help thinking that Copenhagen and Stockholm are cities like any other so what do people expect? (Can´t help it, but I am basically a country person).
Right now I am enjoying a crime novel set in Christchurch, New Zealand. The language is fine and the plot promising.
A taste of Christchurch:
“I drive through the city thinking that Christchurch and technology go together like drinking and driving: they don´t mix well, but some still think it´s a good idea. Everything here looks old, and for the most part it is. People living in the past have set historical values on buildings dating back over a hundred years, and have had them protected from the future. Investors can´t come along and replace them with high-rises and apartment complexes. It´s a cold-looking city made to look even colder in the dreary weather. Everything looks so damn archaic. Even the hookers look fifty years old.”
A fine and well-written description, but to me mainly another city.
How important is the setting to you?
What kind of setting do you prefer? City or country, the exotic forest or the safe and recognizable town?
See my review of Paul Cleave´s Cemetery Lake on Saturday.