Sisters in Crime Book Bloggers Challenge is Barbara Fister’s idea to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sisters in Crime, an international organization founded in 1986 to promote the professional development and advancement of women writing crime fiction.
Crime Fiction on a Euro Pass is a community meme hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. The idea behind is that participants write a post linked to the country of the week. This week’s country is Denmark. You can visit HERE the contribution of other fellow participants.
Whenever possible I will try to combine in a single post both challenges.
Thy is a traditional Danish district located in the upper north west of the Jutland peninsula. The main towns are Thisted, Hanstholm and Hurup. The west of Thy has been designated as the first Danish national park. You can visit Thy National Park webpage and Vacation in Thy for additional information. (The Jutland map was taken from Wikipedia)
Thy did call my attention thanks to Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen whom I met thanks to her blog, djskrimiblog. Dorte is a teacher from Denmark, teaching English at upper secondary level. In her spare time she reads and writes crime fiction in English and Danish, and in 2010 she sold her first flash stories to American magazines and publishers. Since then she has published two collections of flash fiction, Candied Crime (humour) and Liquorice Twists (a bit darker). Her bestseller is the romantic ghost story Heather Farm (suspense plus romance in the Dunes near the Danish west coast). Her latest mystery The Cosy Knave is a cosy mystery featuring village constable Archibald Penrose and the librarian Rhapsody Gershwin. If you are curious, try the free story Zed Alley, featuring Rhapsody Gershwin. (From Smashwords).
I’ve always wondered, what features should have a cosy crime fiction to make it cosy? According to Dorte:
- an amateur sleuth with a useful job or position, but also someone who can get help from the police when she needs it: the librarian Rhapsody, engaged to the local constable.
- a suitable setting: a small village where everybody knows everybody else, including their sordid – or silly – secrets, the kind of place that tend to make you forget that the good, old days never really existed.
- the right kind of crimes, meaning a couple of murders are all right, as long as the readers are spared the dirty truths about the shock and pain they cause. For once, bloodthirsty old Macbeth got it right when he said:”If it were done when ’tis done, then ‘twere well / It were done quickly.”
- plenty of quirky characters: readers will expect prattling dog walkers, stuck-up mushroom ‘experts’, taciturn farmers and constables called Smith, Wesson and Winchester.
- finally, the traditional cosy is expected to be free of sex scenes and swearing – so this is the perfect gift for granny, your young daughter, or anyone who likes having their crime candied.
My review of The Cosy Knave is coming soon. Stay tuned.
Recently other female crime writers from Denmark have been translated into English, but they do not fit into the cosy category. I’m afraid I have not read any of them yet but we can find books by Lene Kaaberbøl (co-author with Agnete Friis of The Boy in the Suitcase), Sissel-Jo Gazan. Sara Blædel, Elsebeth Eglholm. I’m particularly interested in The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbøl & Agnete Friis. It will be published next November for English readers by Soho Press. This is the first instalment in the long-running Danish bestselling series featuring Red Cross nurse Nina Borg and you can find HERE Dorte’s review.