A Swedish smörgåsbord of crime fiction – with Carin Gerhardsen

The first three books set in Hammarby, Sweden
The first three books set in Hammarby, Sweden

If you are a fan of Scandinavian crime fiction, then you need to know about Carin Gerhardsen if you haven’t already read her books. Her crime novels are set in Hammarby, in the southern parts of Stockholm and follow Detective Inspector Conny Sjöberg and her team in investigating some disturbing crimes

 

Carin Gerardhsen (C) Anna Lena-Ahlström
Carin Gerhardsen (C) Anna Lena-Ahlström

Pepparkakshuset (The Gingerbread House) and Mamma, pappa, barn (Cinderella) and Vyssan lull (The Last Lullaby) are the first three in the series and Carin today has invited us to chat about her books with her, plus cake of course. Swedish gingerbread biscuits too….should I be worried?

Hi Carin. We just have to get chatting about your crime books set in Hammarby. Stockholm is such a pretty place but it seems to be the perfect backdrop for some grisly goings on!

The settings used in your book are very pretty places in Sweden. Why did you want to have a range of settings both inside and out of Stockholm city?

(c) Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se
(c) Stockholm  -Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se

I set the entire series in the southern part of central Stockholm and a bunch of suburbs south of the city. I invented that precinct myself, in order not to annoy any existing precinct and its police officers. It gives me the latitude to follow my own ideas on how the police officers should work methodology wise. Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, quite a big city with all its sounds and smells, skyscrapers, suburb ghettos for the poor, areas with detached houses for the wealthy. Stockholm is surrounded by water, forests and fields, everything I could possibly have use for in my novels.

In the Gingerbread House, was this house inspired by anywhere in particular in Katrineholm? Where did the idea for such a house come from?

The house, as it is described in the novel, was in fact – in every way – the preschool where I spent my sixth year on earth. Most of the harassment scenes in the book are my own experiences. My publisher thought that the opening scene was a little too much, so I was obliged to cut the violence down a bit. But it is a scene from my own life. I was there, so I know what children are prepared to do to each other.

Christmas stars -(c) Miriam Preis/imagebank.sweden.se
Christmas stars -(c) Miriam Preis/imagebank.sweden.se

Christmas adds another nice, idyllic dimension to the story before the terror is revealed. What is your favourite part of a Swedish Christmas?

The smörgåsbord! I love the Christmas lunch with this huge table filled with Swedish specialities such as ham, sausages, pâtés, different kinds of herring, ox-tongue, gravlax, pies, cheese and… Yeah, you name it.

 Some events take place on the metro – Stockholm metro is famous for its beauty and creativity. Which station is your favourite that people should visit?

My favourite is the Karlaplan station, with its almost one hundred meters long photo montage by Larseric Vänerlöf. It makes me laugh, and I love it.

Cinderella Girl captures the isolation of the fairytale and the name of the cruise ship which travels between Sweden and Finland. What aspects of this – isolation and claustrophobia- did you want to evoke in the novel?

There are two sisters growing up in misery surrounded by alcoholics, there is a young man who’s held captive by his abusive father, there is a little girl waking up one morning only to find that she’s been abandoned by her family in a locked apartment. So I’d say Cinderella Girl is all about different aspects of isolation.

With many thanks to Carin for an insight into the dark side of Sweden and  a great Swedish crime series that we booktrailers recommend!

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/caringerhardsen

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Stockholm – Sweden, Italy, Greece – Europa Blues – Arne Dahl

Europa blues

Why a booktrail?

A trip to the zoo proves deadly…

Story in a nutshell

Skansen zoo is a popular sight in Stockholm popular with tourists and locals alike but there is shock when a gangster recently arrive in the city is found murdered in the most macabre of situations, his body consumed by animals.

Elsewhere in the city, a group of eight Eastern European women vanish from a refugee centre. Then an elderly professor is found executed at a Jewish cemetery, the tattooed number on his arm a disturbing sign to his past.

The Intercrime unit dedicated to international violent crime has a dark dark series of cases to investigate and their search will take them back through the recesses of history.

Place and Setting

 Skogskyrkogården - The site of the jewish cemetery Skansen  - http://www.skansen.se/en/kategori/english The popular  zoo and open air museum with the grisly secret Bofinksvagen, Nytorp, Tyresö The address they realise has a link to one of the vicitms Odenplan metro A call comes in from here

Skogskyrkogården – The site of the jewish cemetery
Skansen – http://www.skansen.se/en/kategori/english
The popular zoo and open air museum with the grisly secret
Bofinksvagen, Nytorp, Tyresö
The address they realise has a link to one of the vicitms
Odenplan metro
A call comes in from here

A macabre scene at Skansen zoo, refugees missing from a refugee centre and a dead professor in a Jewish cemetery. Stockholm’s intercrime unit has a difficult time ahead as these crimes have a dark nature to them and the investigations will leave a trail from one continent to another.

The zoo takes on a grim and grisly tinge –

They drive him towards the Skansen fence, right by the wolves, They’d probably already clipped a hole in the fence next to  it, alongside the wolf enclosure

From present day Stockholm, the crimes have their origins in greek gangsters and their links to a Milan crime family as well as what happened during the second world war. Historic crimes, an historical legacy and bad blood can have serious and deadly repercussions.

This is a grim, gritty delve into the past with murder, torture, slavery and war time butchery seeping into Stockholm’s streets. What role did Sweden have during the war and how neutral was it really? How did fascism then and now keep rearing its ugly head?

They went out there to get drunk, break gravestones and sing Nazi battle songs in the Jewish cemetery

The landscape of Stockholm now is one of ugly repercussions – and the war, the holocaust has some horrific secrets to share. The Intercrime unit is to have some complicated threads to unravel. A deeply disturbing view of nationalism is permeating every crevice of the city and beyond.

Bloody Scotland – Arne Dahl talks murder, crime fiction and…haggis

Arne Dahl is no ordinary Swedish crime writer. For one he has two names (a real one and a pen name), he has a map open on the table in front of him ‘looking for somewhere to bury a body’ and he likes a mean feast of haggis…

Well I am here today to talk about Bloody Scotland with him so he is definitely getting into character!

Hej Arne

Arne Dahl © Sara Arnald 2011
Arne Dahl © Sara Arnald 2011

Do you think that when you visit Stirling for the Bloody Scotland festival you may want to use the setting in a book?

I really love the Scottish landscapes in general, they are quite unique, all in their own way. And Stirling is such a brilliant little medieval city, with such an amazing history, that it well deserves a good killing. I need one more visit to decide where to bury the corpse.  (For those of you in Stirling between 11th and 13th September for Bloody Scotland…watch out 😉

bad-blood


Why do you enjoy Bloody Scotland? Are there parallels between the landscape of Sweden and Scotland for you?

There are definitely enough similarities to make you feel at home as a Swede, yes – the people, the landscape, the political attitudes – the weather. But basically it’s about the feeling of being truly welcome.

How have you felt getting your books written as a television series?

It’s a different kind of writing, and I have been doing enough of that myself to realize how difficult it is to transform novel prose into television language. And in general I think they did a great job. But there were distinctive worries beforehand, I promise.

Why do you feel Sweden and Stockholm are good settings for crime novels?

Maybe it’s because of the clash between beauty and horror. Maybe it’s because of the relative distance to the real violence of the world today. Maybe it’s even because there is this (slightly misleading) idea of Sweden being some kind of perfect welfare state. And it’s always a bit of fun watching perfection crumble…

Strandvägen (c) I99pema/Wikicommon Strandvägen, the coastal street of Östermalm, the most luxurious part of Stockholm, with absurdly big and posh apartments. Home of one of the first victims in Bad Blood.
Strandvägen (c) I99pema/Wikicommon
Strandvägen, the coastal street of Östermalm, the most luxurious part of Stockholm, with absurdly big and posh apartments. Home of one of the first victims in Bad Blood.

Do you share any similarities with Paul Hjelm?

Quite a few, I fear, not least his shortcomings. On the other hand, my storytelling is based on a kind of collective approach, where all the members of the A Unit are equally strong as protagonists. I suppose they all represent me, in different ways, but Paul is probably the most realistic representation…

What kind of research did you bring into your creation of the A Unit which seems to have quite a mix of characters within it!?

What I wanted was simply a somewhat representative mix of people from the Swedish society around the turn of the millennium. Normal, reasonably well-functioning citizens – with their fair share of personal problems – that just happen to be police officers. The basic idea was simply to put a number of realistic characters together, plunge them deep into darkness, and see if the circumstances would make them function as a real team. And I think they did.arne dahl europe blues

Will you be sampling any Scottish cuisine on your visit here? What Swedish food would you recommend to us?

I definitely have a haggis every time I go to Scotland – and this time will be no exception – but the core of your cuisine is of course the whisky. Last year I went to Islay to enjoy the local cuisine…

Swedish food is a rather short story. It’s basically about different kinds of more or less raw fish, like salmon and herring. But if you want a special tip, I suggest looking at the YouTube clips with Americans trying to eat “surströmming” (“soured herring”), a fermented, very smelly fish from northern Sweden. That should make you feel welcome in Sweden. 

With that, the very thought of having to try “surströmming” again ( I can still smell it from the first time I tried it) I’m off before he gets the chance to offer it again. Haggis however is another matter and more apt of course for the Bloody Scotland festival. It’s been a real pleasure to meet you Arne, to practise the Swedish again and to revisit Stockholm (Although I will see Strandvägen and many other places in a whole new light!) Hej Hej!

Arne is appearing at Bloody Scotland  –

Saturday 12 September from 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

https://www.bloodyscotland.com/event/arne-dahl/

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Iowa, Sweden – Katarina Bivald

readers of broekn wheel

Why a booktrail?

If you love books and books about books then this is the book for you! Broken Wheel USA awaits….There is even a chapter on book smelling…yes really….

Story in a nutshell

From Sweden to small town America, this is the story of Sara who travels to Broken Wheel USA in order to meet her pen pal Amy. Amy is old and they have written to each other for years mostly about books and reading – she used to work in a bookstore but she lost her job there and has written about her passion ever since..

As Sara arrives in Broken Wheel, she discovers that Amy has sadly died before the two could meet. But the townspeople take this bookworm under their wing and before long, she is the protagonist of a very unusual and quirky story of her own.

But Sara has read enough books to know that real life and fiction are two separate things. But are they?

Place and setting

Clarence Main street The one street town which inspired Broken Wheel and where Grace’s Diner is located amongst other things Clarence Park The park  - perfect place to read a book! Fourth Avenue Fourth street i Broken Wheel changed its name to Jimmy Coogan street in 1987 but normally the streets are plain since the people there “don’t have any predilection for flourishes or big words” Tipton the seat of Cedar County
Clarence Main street
The one street town which inspired Broken Wheel and where Grace’s Diner is located amongst other things
Clarence Park
The park – perfect place to read a book!
Fourth Avenue
Fourth street i Broken Wheel changed its name to Jimmy Coogan street in 1987 but normally the streets are plain since the people there “don’t have any predilection for flourishes or big words”
Tipton
the seat of Cedar County

If only there were a real place called Broken Wheel, there would be plenty of literary slogans to have on their welcome sign

It is a truth universally acknowledge that a Swedish tourist in Iowa must be in want of a man

A chapter heading but a valid message as well. Sara is not so sure of course and her story on the border of fact and fiction starts off – aptly in the town they call Hope –

It was as if she had just landed there, book and luggage and uncombed hair in tow…”

When Amy doesn’t turn up, she is offered a lift, ‘ You must be the tourist’ and can’t believe Amy could be dead – she loved books for goodness sake.

Broken Wheel Iowa is the place which welcomes her, she’s learnt about it via books and letters.  When talking of the kind of people that might live in Broken Wheel, May writes “A Lisbeth Salander? That we definately do not have.” They discover each others lives and countries via books –

Speaking of small towns, murder and sex, I’m sending you Harper Lees to Kill a Mocking Bird as the first installment

Feeling lost when Amy is gone, she starts up a bookstore. Sara doesn’t have a visa so this is just a hobby but through it she introduces the towns people new books and discovering new places and emotions through reading. There is a kind of book challenge on with neighbouring Hope and the books recommended to the more straight laced characters in the story are quite the eye opener!

“For as long as she could remember, she had thought that autumn air went well with books, that the two somehow belonged with blankets, comfortable armchairs and big cups of coffee or tea.”

The locals help her to stay by planning her a wedding but its the love affair she has with books and Broken Wheel that is the biggest page turner.

The author has used Clarence Cedar County Iowa as her inspiration for the town of Broken Wheel amongst the corn in southwestern Iowa.

Bookish musings

Have your books travelled further than you have? I was quite pleased to read this quote since I have sent many via the post over the years, bought some in one country and flown them home with me, sent them on to my new house, even left one or two on a booktrail. Good stories always travel and this one is no exception.

Writing letters recommending books, book club across the miles, travelling to see your bookish friend…yes all very familiar and very realistic!

It was charming all the way through and there is mention of many books that you will want to read although if you have read Jane Eyre, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a Jane Austen novel or the Bridget Jones novels, then you’’ get an extra special thrill.

a happy feel good book with smatterings of sadness and poignant moments to enjoy and think about

Read in the original Swedish at first- Läsarna i Broken Wheel rekommenderar – but the English is a fine translation and captures the essence of the book very well indeed!

I want to live in Broken Wheel now and work in Oak Tree bookstore. Can I please Katarina? Please?

Lisbeth Salander around the world – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

It’s the day of the girl #dayofthegirl at @Quercus books to celebrate the birthday of Lisbeth Salander and the fact that she is such a great character and has made such an impression on everyone who has come into contact with her.With the fourth book in the series being published later this year, we take a look back at the start and look at Lisbeth as she is seen around the world.

This was the first version I ever saw and promptly was recommended it by a very enthusiastic Swedish bookseller. Explaining that I was after a good story with great characters and would be using the book to help learn Swedish, she told me that the words and phrases I came across in this book, I would never forget. Probably never be able to use in an everyday situation but it would be a fun experience! And so, Lisbeth came home with me to my Swedish appartment and well, she’s stayed with me ever since. Thanks to her I discovered much of Stockholm and the surrounding area too – she’s quite the guide!

stieg_larsson

But what does the rest of the world make of her? What was the UK cover at the time? I can see why they changed the title from ‘the man who hates women’ to ‘ The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’

Girl-with-the-Dragon-Tattoo-UK

And then I saw these and marvelled at the way in which different countries see Lisbeth and her world –

BOOKS-ONE

The French one reminds me of Christina Ricci from the Adams Family and the Spanish one is rather Picasso in style but which one would have made you pick up the book? The portuguese one is my favourite from the ones above.

But it will always be that chilling face on the Swedish cover which wins over everytime. I was chilled but wanted to read this to find out why..

Lisbeth is here to stay and I for one can not wait to read the next one in the series.

Wolf Winter – Swedish Lapland -Cecilia Ekbäck

wolf-winter copy

Why a booktrail?

Travel to the chilling and mysterious Blackåsen Mountain in Swedish Lapland where there is a lot more going on than first meets the eye.

Story in a nutshell 

There are six homesteads on Blackåsen Mountain. The mountain is a harsh and difficult place to live and where new settlers must live with old ones. Folklore and superstitions are not too far away and the influence of the Church and its teachings are omnipresent.

From one cottage, two daughters go walking and find a dead man hidden in the snow. His wounds are clean and deliberate – surely not the work of a wolf. Whilst some things can be explained away this cannot and the girl’s mother will not let it rest.

Why is the man’s wife not concerned as she is? Why does the brother almost laugh at the news? And why does the priest not care?

Just what kind of secrets is this mountain hiding? And what will result from their reveal?

Place and setting

The author told us - Blackåsen Mountain doesn’t exist as a physical place, but its nature is something I remember from my childhood: a combination of the places and memories I have from Hudiksvall, where I grew up, Knaften and Vormsele, the two small villages in Lapland where my grandparents lived, and Sånfjället, a mountain close to the Norwegian border, where our family had a cabin. I imagine the mountain to be 70 kilometres inland of Luleå town
The author told us – Blackåsen Mountain doesn’t exist as a physical place, but its nature is something I remember from my childhood: a combination of the places and memories I have from Hudiksvall, where I grew up, Knaften and Vormsele, the two small villages in Lapland where my grandparents lived, and Sånfjället, a mountain close to the Norwegian border, where our family had a cabin.
I imagine the mountain to be 70 kilometres inland of Luleå town

Swedish Lapland is a cold and desolate place to be. The winds are cutting, the mountain not your friend and the wolfs can be seen and not heard in the black spindly woods.

Evil is said to rule this mountain area and there are signs and echoes of it all around. Amongst the Laplanders there is a suspicion and distrust but not so much of each other than the one link which is supposed to unite them – the Church. Having converted to Christianity, it is not the goodness and the clear beliefs that unite them now. Least of all the priest who walks amongst them.

The landscape is a leading character here in every sense of the word -everything the people do, their culture, their way of life is dictated to them by the weather and their surroundings.

Wolf Winter,” she said, her voice small. “I wanted to ask about it. You know, what it is.”

He was silent for a long time. “It’s the kind of winter that will remind us we are mortal,” he said. “Mortal and alone.”

The premise of entering the homes and minds of the Swedish laplanders in 1717 is enthralling and as their lifestyle and belief system is revealed then the whole landscape becomes one of intrigue, folklore and the battle between good and evil.

The shadows on the mountain may not just be those caused by the changing clouds and the rise and fall of the moon. There are shadows in every nook and cranny of that mountain – even at the spot  – the flat boulder on the mountain – they call the Kings Throne –

“This is where out men come to sit and look at the world as if they owned it”

“Lots of things have happened here. It is that kind of place, it  attracts things.”

Thoughts 

A book as evocative as this takes you to that place and immerses you in the landscape so much that you can feel the windchill, the eerie silence, the evil in the air as you linger at the King’s Throne.

The lifestyle and belief system of the people in the settlements helps to draw the bigger picture – from how birds carry the souls of the dead, to the more lighthearted moments of the Midsummer tradition of putting flowers under your bed to make you dream of your husband to be.

The writing does the rest – poetic, visual and well, just read this about snow –

By late afternoon the snowflakes that float in the air above the mountain are as big as Lapp mittens, as soft as the wool closest to the sheep’s heart.

The earth, the soil and the weather are all characters here which makes the world that Cecilia paints so enchanting – eerie and cold at times as lets not forget there has been a man killed on the mountain. And one women’s  determination to prove it was no wolf or bear is admirable and impressive.

I left this book wanting more  – of the characters I’d met – the Lapps/the Sami, of Maija and her family, of the others who live on those homesteads.

It was all so uniquely done. Blackåsen mountain will stay with me for a long while yet.

The Ice Princess – Fjallbacka – Camilla Lackberg

 

lackberg-ice-princess

Camilla’s books are set in Fjällbacka, the coastal village where Camilla was born and raised. Its name derives from the imposing rocky outcrop that the village encircles.

Fjällbacka on the west coast of Sweden
Fjällbacka on the west coast of Sweden

After the sudden death of her parents, author Erica Falck returns to her childhood home in the small west coast community of Fjällbacka.

She is coming back to sort out the childhood home – which her sister Anna wants to sell ( or rather her odious wife beating husband does). Whilst Erica is sorting that out, Alex, a school friend is found murdered – encased in an icy bath – the Ice Princess. Alex’s parents ask her to write about their daughter which involves her in the local investigation

Meeting up with the local detective Patrik Hedstrom, also a childhood friend of Erica’s, she is able to gather and discover a lot of information for herself such as why the people of Fjällbacka seem so reluctant to offer information. One resident Anders who is always on his computer seems to know something but he isn’t talking either.

Just what did happen in the village all those years ago and why isn’t anyone talking? What are they afraid of?

Some of the main locations in the novel
Some of the main locations in the novel – Tanumshede where the police station is  – is off to the far north east of this map

This was the first book I read in Swedish and well let’s just say the vocabulary gathered from this was perhaps not the best way to start off lol. However,  having said that, it was a great first read which introduced me to Camilla Läckberg’s world and brought me to Fjällbacka – a small town on the West Coast of Sweden and  a stunning if harsh environment during the winter months.

The links of a small remote town and the issues of meeting up with and facing up to issues of the past were at the crux of Ice Princess and it was nice to meet Erica and Patrik and see their budding romance although the Bridget Jones references did jar with me slightly being in the middle of a crime novel. One which ended in a way I was hoping it wouldn’t – but a good shock element certainly and one which fitted with the secrets of the past.

The mix of domestic life, family dramas as well as the crime angle I think works very well for this Scandi drama – the location is as much a character as any of the human faces, if not more so. The small town thinking, the remoteness and the feeling of ‘ no where to turn’ spins the situation described on its head.

The characters are a perfect mix of a group of people that would live in such a remote village – Mellberg, the chief of police who has been stationed here after being moved from his post in the big city following an alleged altercation with a refugee, Patrick and his childhood sweetheart Erica, fishermen such as Eilert Berg who finds the dead body at the start of the book, and of course people who lived there years ago and who have secrets from the past that threaten their future….

It is the locations that are perhaps the star of the show as Fjällbacka has the feel that it is the blueprint or the map of Camilla Lackberg  – the town ws always here yet it almost feels like a film set such is its beauty. One where you do not want to find an Alex or a girl trapped in the fishing nets (the Stonecutter). But be sure to head of to the church (the focus of many a scene) and Ingrid Bergman’s statue oh and maybe a jaunt over to where Patrick and Erica live…

Camilla blends good writing, solid locations and a Miss Marplesque feel to the whole proceedings and I care about where her characters go next.

There are some great tours to be had in and around the region of F and this is a brilliant place to start – http://www.vastsverige.com/en/experience-fjallbacka/ 

Visit Camilla herself here – http://www.camillalackberg.com/

Back to my childhood this Easter

Well as it’s Easter, I decided to take a trip in my literary journey – a trip back to my childhood and recent childhood if I’m honest since I love to read stories for my own pleasure as well as reading them to my friends’ little tots.

One from my own childhood: UK

Spot the dog
Spot the dog

Spot the dog was my favourite dog from childhood and if I’m honest one of my favourite children’s characters of all time. The books are so simple but cleverly written and this story about Easter is no exception. Spot is very excited because it is his first Easter, and the Easter bunny has hidden some eggs for him to find!

This really is a delightful book, further enhanced by the occasional ‘helpful’ comment from the characters hidden behind the flaps. The Easter bunny also regularly checks on their progress and reminds the duo how many more eggs they need to find! Very cute and very fun.

Africa : Kirikou

Kirikou
Kirikou

The charming tale of Kirikou is based on West African folklore and  depicts how a newborn boy, Kirikou, saves his village from the evil witch.

He’s not a normal boy, since he can speak and walk immediately after being born.  He is determined to fight Karaba, the dreaded sorceress.

Kirikou wants to save his people, but at the same time he is determined to discover why Karaba is so wicked. He is a little boy who doesn’t agree with what the villagers seek to make him think and do; he wants to look further and find his own answers to his own questions.

I read this to my neighbours children and watched the animated movies that have been made. Even after the kids had gone to bed, I carried on watching since it was so cute and interesting. It is also educational about the African culture and I understood straight away why they remain so popular in France today.

Finland/Sweden –  Moomins

The Moomins
The Moomins

Moominsummer Madness  (Farlig midsommar, ‘Dangerous Midsummer’ in Swedish) is the fourth in the series of the Moomins books by Tove Jansson.

This is a charming series of books about a family of fairy tale characters, who are white and roundish, with large snouts. They live in their house in Moominvalley in the forests of Finland. And they love to have adventures. I love this book as although about Midsummer, it captivates the dancing and the free spirit which surrounds Easter and other holidays and it reminds me of the Swedish sun and the maypole.

It perfectly captivates the Swedish sense of freedom of expression, playful holidays and the role of children in holiday celebrations. Lovely!

Easter really is  time for families and spending time with friends. I love spending time with friends with children as it gives me an excuse to read lots of interesting stories to them. I find myself becoming as immersed, if not more, so than they are!

Happy Easter!

Camilla Läckberg, Sweden

Camilla Läckberg is a writer who inspires me for a number of reasons: not only due to her amazing ability to write utter compelling crime fiction but for her passion for books and writing that  led to her going through a drastic career change from an economist to a writer.

I feel an affinity with her on this last count in particular since I have changed careers myself from translation to IT/ writing for the web and copywriting. Ok so my career change is less dramatic but I took a break from pure translation to working with the technologies that a new career in the publishing world would require and from working with someone else’s words to working with my own. Now, I’m not in any way comparing myself to  Camilla Läckberg, but because of this, she has inspired me in a way that not many authors have.

Fjällbacka is the scene for all the novels where she has used the existing police station in Tanumshede . She inspired me to visit there and I admit I took her books but hoped that this wasn’t going to be too accurate a guidebook. Luckily the tiny village was a joy to discover and visited the West Coast of Sweden that I may not have visited otherwise. I had only been as far as Gothenburg until I discovered Camilla’s books.

Always a fan of learning languages from books, I also picked up a lot of useful colloquial Swedish from her novels

So once again, now only did I find a new writer and her books, I learnt a lot more about the language and the culture of which the books were set.

Aah how I would love to go back to Fjällbacka. And take one of Camilla’s books with me…..