lørdag den 8. august 2009

An Unkindness of Ravens

[Picture: RSPB]

“… the raven appears in a whole load of different religions and myths – Norse, Celtic, North American, Greek. It´s associated with death in all of them. It´s either the messenger of death, or a medium of communication with the underworld. It´s also considered by some to be the bringer of war or misfortune, mainly because it hung round battlefields and ate the dead.”

“In Irish folklore, the raven is omniscient, all seeing and knowing. It´s linked to a couple of mythical characters – the Celtic goddess Morrigane and the war goddesses of Badbh, Macha and Nemain who took the form of ravens. For North American Indians it seems that the raven appears as a deity and is a powerful shapeshifter, being able to transform into anyone or anything to get what it wants. Or he´s a trickster, fooling people into giving him what he wants, something that might be of great personal harm.”

Small wonder that this black bird has appealed to several writers of crime fiction.

Offhand, I can remember one American and two British novels – plus the fairly new one which I ´stole´ the above quotations from. I think the author may forgive me tomorrow when I reveal the source in my review, however.

How many crime novels do you know in which ravens play a role?

NB: this is not a bait post so you don´t have to worry about giving too much away.

My readers´ suggestions:

Ruth Rendell, An Unkindness of Ravens
Ann Cleeves, Raven Black
Ellis Peters, The Raven in the Foregate

Karin Fossum, Black Seconds (Dansk: Sorte sekunder).

6 kommentarer:

R/T sagde ...

If I recall correctly, Karin Fossum's BLACK SECONDS features a raven rather prominently.

Uriah Robinson sagde ...

Ruth Rendell; An Unkindness of Ravens
Ann Cleeves;Raven Black
Ellis Peters;The Raven in the Foregate

I am sure there are others especially medieval historicals where the bodies are picked to pieces

Dorte H sagde ...

R.T. I don´t remember that particular book by Fossum (we get them 1-2 years before English readers so it may be some years since I read it). I could imagine Fossum wreaking wonders with a raven, however.

R/T sagde ...

Combine a raven with a local character who lives alone and hasn't spoken since childhood--Emil Mork--and then add in Emil's mother who is fearful of what her son might have done--and then add in Inspector Sejer's investigation into a child's murder. (Originally published in 2002 as Svarte Sekunder.)

Dorte H sagde ...

Norman, the first two were the British I had in mind. If Reg should see this post, he will know which American mystery I am thinking of.

Dorte H sagde ...

R.T. Ah yes, now I recall it. Actually, I´d say it has quite a lot in common with the raven and the character Magnus in Ann Cleeves´ Raven Black.