mandag den 13. april 2009

Cozy Mystery - Hyggekrimi

Skal jeg nu bruge det engelske begreb ´cozy mystery´, eller skal jeg oversætte det til hyggekrimi? I hvert fald vil jeg gerne fortælle, at jeg nu har kastet mig ud i en ny udfordring: læs og anmeld seks hyggekrimier i perioden 1. april – 30. september.

Det er Kris, Not Enough Books, som er vært for denne udfordring, og hvis andre skulle føle sig fristet, kan det stadig lade sig gøre at melde sig til (men man skal nok helst anmelde bøgerne på engelsk).

Det er ikke obligatorisk at lave en liste over bøger på forhånd, men jeg har skrevet mine umiddelbare ideer ned:

Engelske forfattere: Louise Penny, Agatha Christie (Miss Marple), Caroline Graham, A.A. Milne, Peter Lovesey, Alexander McCall Smith, Dorothy Sayers, Ann Cleeves, Martha Grimes, Ellis Peters, Gillian Roberts & Elizabeth Ferrars.

Skandinaviske forattere: Anders Bodelsen (Den åbne dør), Else Fischer, Kirsten Holst (Døden rejser med) Maria Lang (Mordet på Landsbykirkegården)

Hvad synes du? Hvilke af forfatterne vil du gerne have en anmeldelse af? – eller har du en yndlingsforfatter/hyggekrimi, du synes skal med på listen?

Cozy Mystery Reading Challenge.
Last week I found this reading challenge via Beth Fish´s blog, and I did not even try to resist the temptation. Thank you, Kris, Not Enough Books, for hosting this one.

The most important Rules:
1. The challenge runs from April 1, 2009 –September 30, 2009 (6 months)
2. The goal is to read at least 1 cozy mystery for each month, so a total of 6. You can read these all in the same month, one per month, or however you want.
3. It is ok to use books that you are already reading for other challenges, however at least 2 need to be specific for this challenge.

We don´t have to make a list beforehand, but here is a list of ideas I jotted down immediately:

English authors: Louise Penny, Agatha Christie (Miss Marple, Murder at the Vicarage), Caroline Graham, A.A. Milne, The Red House Mystery, Peter Lovesey, Alexander McCall Smith, Dorothy Sayers (Busman´s Honeymoon), Ann Cleeves, George & Molly Palmer, Martha Grimes, Ellis Peters, Gillian Roberts, (Amanda Pepper), Elizabeth Ferrars.

Scandinavian authors: Anders Bodelsen (Den åbne dør), Else Fischer, Kirsten Holst (Døden rejser med) Maria Lang (Mordet på Landsbykirkegården)

What do you think? Any of these you´d particularly like a review of, or do you have a favourite book/author which should be on my list?

17 kommentarer:

Bernadette sagde ...

I'd be curious to see reviews of the Scandinavian cosy writers Dorte. It's not a sub-genre I immediately associate with the Scandinavian crime fiction I am familiar with so I'm curious to see if it differs from the English cosy writers.

I haven't read many of the English cosy writers you mention. Alexander McCall Smith is probably my favourite of those you mention but hardly crime fiction at all - very enjoyable though - they transport you to a different place.

Of course you should also try an Australian cosy writer and I would suggest Kerry Greenwood. She writes a historical series featuring Phyrine Fisher set in the 1920's (there are lots of books in that series) and also a modern day series featuring Corinna Chapman who is a baker in an inner city location and has all kinds of odd things happen to her and her friends - I really like this series and reviewed the first three books on my blog at

If you want to try Greenwood's books and have trouble getting hold of them let me know and I'll send you one across the ocean - anything to fly the Aussie flag (bsquaredinoz [at] gmail [dot] com)

Dorte H sagde ...

Bernadette, I promise that I will review at least two Scandinavian cozies (I can always review some extra if my list grows too long).
I am glad you suggest an Australian writer; actually I am toying with an idea of having an Overseas Theme, and I am not sure I will wait until October. I will check if it is possible to get a Greenwood book via the library or perhaps a cheap second-hand edition.

Anonym sagde ...

Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey!

Beth F sagde ...

I don't have preferences. I was not taken with the McCall book (the first in the Ladies' Detective series) I read, so I'd be curious what you think. I love, love, love Midsomer Murders.

Dorte H sagde ...

Bookwitch: short and concise :D
I may try to find one by Josephine Tey in order to try something new. I have read a handful of Ngaio Marsh´s novels, and at least a short story or two by Allingham.

Beth, I have only read two Midsomer Murders, and they were not great favourites. I love the TV-series, however, and I am very willing to give Graham a third chance.

Søren sagde ...

I would like to read your review of one of Alexander McCall Smiths The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novels :-)

Dorte H sagde ...

Søren, I shall keep McCall Smith on the list. I think I may be able to get it from the library.

Lauren sagde ...

I think I've read most of the English-language authors mentioned. Apart from Louise Penny and McCall Smith, I really only like the older cosies. (Ngaio Marsh et al.) For some reason I can't buy the situations in more modern books, at least those with more modern settings.

Of your Scandinavian authors, Kirsten Holst is already on my to-read list. Bodelsen appears to be translated into German but out of print, and the other two don't turn up in a cursory search. (Looking for Else Fischer only reveals Fraulein Else by Schnitzler. Which I've read...but certainly isn't a crime novel, and particularly not a cosy one!)

Dorte H sagde ...

Lauren, thanks for your information about Danish authors in German. It is not an aspect I have thought about a lot, because I never read German.
I think you are right that traditional cozy mysteries may be difficult to swallow today. We all know that murder is not fun and does not belong in the dining room.
Kirsten Holst is the mother of the quite famous Danish author Hanne Vibeke Holst (very popular but her language is not quite my taste). Her novels are of the oldfashioned kind. Generally, Bodelsen´s novels are thrillers, but he has one which may just be called cozy.
Else Fischer´s are a mixture of thriller & cozy mystery. They usually take place within a closed circle, and as they are formulaic and not too realistic I think it is fair to call them cozy.

marco sagde ...

Not much a fan of cozies, and I agree they belong to another era. My mother was (and still is) though, so I did read a lot of them in my formative years.
I would add John Dickson Carr and all his preposterous closed room mysteries. Agatha Christie- everybody knows her strong (plot) and weak (character,language) suits. One novel I'd like to recommend is Endless Night- a later book, not much mentioned, but a hidden masterpiece which reminds a bit of Patricia Highsmith. Of the newer authors I did enjoy Elizabeth Ferrars and Ellis Peters, while I seriously disliked Martha Grimes. I think the better writers of the bunch are unquestionably Dorothy Sayers and Josephine Tey. If you don't mind reading on the screen, Dorte, I believe most of her novels are now in the public domain and can be downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg and similar sites. All are very good, my personal favourite is To Love and Be Wise.
Margery Allingham never quite clicked with me (probably also because I've read a novel of hers with strong racist implications) and Ngaio Marsh, well, her language makes me blush*.

* lets just say she uses a lot a particular verb which underwent an unfortunate shift in meaning over the years- with hilarious results.

marco sagde ...

And I would also add, among older cosies: Georgette Heyer (mostly a romance author, but she did some elegant mysteries) Nicholas Blake's Nigel Strangeways and above all Edmund Crispin's quirky Gervase Fen's novels, especially the delightful The Moving Toyshop and The Long Divorce.

Lauren sagde ...

Dorte, I've not made a special study of Danish (or other Nordic) authors translated into German, but when I first started reading European crime fiction I noticed that:

a) there's heaps more available in German, and usually in order!
b) I read fractionally slower in German than in English, and thus the price/page ratio is not as hair-raising as when I buy something in English and polish it off in under two hours.

So or similar is usually my first port of call. Once I've started a series in one language, it seems to make more sense to keep going in the same one, otherways translation quirks annoy me.

As to why crime novels are so popular in German-speaking countries...?

Marco, I'd forgotten about Nicholas Blake. Worth a read (and wasn't he Cecil Day-Lewis?)

I never noticed anything blush-worthy in Ngaio Marsh, but I do tend to get irritated by her descriptions of class, and of Inspector Fox, who is a lot more clever than your average Watson/Hastings-esque sidekick. Some of her novels are better than others, but she hasn't aged nearly as badly as Allingham.

Lauren sagde ...

Dorte, I see you've discovered my nascent blog ;). I'm hoping actually start posting soon, but I've had to work on my 'day writing' lately. And I'm off on holiday for ten days from tomorrow, so I'll see what happens when I get back.

(Though deadlines mean I have to take my laptop on holiday too...perhaps I can write the odd post while I'm stuck in Heathrow!)

marco sagde ...


yes, Nicholas Blake was Cecil Day-Lewis.

Ngaio Marsh- class and non-English speaking foreigners. A couple of her novels are set in Italy and/or have Italian characters, and of course everything's pretty one-dimensional.

Blush-worthy... I'm afraid it was a joke on my part - there was a discussion a while ago on Peter's blog about words or phrases which nowadays have acquired quite different connotations.
Dame Ngajo tended to use "ejaculate" a lot, resulting in sentences like this one:

"Here. You can have the change." she said. The waiter ejaculated with evident pleasure.

marco sagde ...

Oh, I've seen Bernadette recommended an Australian author. I've kind of become an ambassador for Amara Lakhous's Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in PIazza Vittorio. Not really a cosy, but maybe closer to it than to other subgenres. It is a wonderful book. Here are some reviews of people I've coerced into buying it:

Peter Rozovsky Adrian McKinty Seana Graham

Dorte H sagde ...

Marco and Lauren, it is good to see that you two can entertain each other while I am turning my back :D

And thank you for all your suggestions; I will try to make as many people happy as possible (and may end up pleasing no one :O)
What I had imagined was a mix of authors I know plus at least half of them new ones.
I think I´ll make all my readers´ suggestion into a new post in the weekend, however.
And Lauren, I will keep an eye on your blog. It is on my blogroll so I will notice when you come back.

Reg / Steve sagde ...

Dorte, might I recommend my wife Tiina Nunnally's two Seattle cozies with a Nordic twist: Runemaker and Fate of Ravens. Both have been translated to Danish, as Runemageren and Odins Ravne (Modtryk) and may be available antikvarisk over there. They feature Margit Andersson, amateur sleuth and technical translator, half-Danish & half-Swedish. Tiina used some great Scandinavian lore in them. She says she may get back to the series soon and write a third one.