Crime in Cold Places a bib by Marianne Ramsden
Setting: Copenhagen, Denmark and Greenland
- After a young boy falls from a snow-covered roof in present-day Copenhagen, something about his rooftop tracks—and the fact that the boy had a fear of heights—obsesses Smilla, a woman who had befriended him. Her search for what had frightened the boy leads her to uncover information about his father's death on an expedition to Greenland, a mission funded by a Danish corporation involved in a conspiracy stretching back to WW II.
Protagonists: Police Inspectors Erlendur Sveinnson and Sigurdur Oli
Setting: Reykjavik, Iceland
- An old man is murdered and during the investigation Erlendur learns the victim probably committed several rapes and murders. The search for solutions brings the detectives to the forensic lab whose old “jar city” hold research organs.
- A skeleton, buried for more than 50 years, is uncovered at a building site. While the burial site is excavated, several other narratives unfold: a horrifying story of domestic abuse set during WWII, a search for missing persons that unearths almost-forgotten family secrets involving some of the city's most prominent citizens, and Erlendur's own painful family story.
Protagonists: Inspectors Konrad Sejer and Jacob Skarre
Setting: Oslo, Norway
- A girl disappears from her middle-class neighborhood, then returns home unharmed. Meanwhile, the search party discovers the nude corpse of a teenager, and the story shifts to a murder investigation, using several points of view to create red herrings that add to the suspense. The plot shifts course again and drives to a stunning conclusion and ominous final scene.
- A troubled youngster claims to have seen an escaped mental patient who is a schizophrenic and rumored to have left a string of corpses in his wake. Another crime occurs—a daylight bank robbery that turns into a hostage situation. The gripping plot takes another sharp turn when the possible killer is identified as the robber's captive.
- A dangerously restless 18-year-old roams the streets of a provincial Norwegian town, fueled by the enormity of a secret he keeps. One evening, he breaks into an old woman's house to rob her. His intended victim in defending herself pushes him down the cellar stairs, where he lands unable to move, but alive. What develops between the immobile boy and the reclusive woman is a bizarre relationship that serves as a pathetic and poignant balance to the police hunt for the young man.
- A bachelor returns to his small Norwegian village after having married an Indian woman who is scheduled to arrive in a few weeks. However, she is brutally murdered within a mile of his home. The police have a long list of suspects, but only a handful of clues.
Protagonists: Police Detective Adam Stubo and ex-FBI profiler Johanne Vik
- A series of Norwegian children are kidnapped and the bodies of two of the children are returned to their parents’ homes with chilling notes pinned to their clothing. This plot is intertwined with that of a man imprisoned in the 1950’s for a young girl’s murder and inexplicably released from prison eight years later.
Setting: Gothenburg, Sweden
Protagonist: Inspector Erik Winter
- Mysterious assaults on college students in the parks of a wintry Gothenburg are carried out in the dead of night, while during the day toddlers are abducted from their nursery schools only to be returned, seemingly unharmed, before anyone notices they are missing. Winter must deduce the twisted connections between the cases before the culprit—or culprits?—closes in on his own family.
Setting: Arctic Sweden
- Centered on the unsolved murder of two sleeping campers, the novel focuses on the anguish of Annie Raft, a teacher who discovers the bodies, and a Birgir Torbjornsson. Eighteen years later Annie again sees the mysterious young man she saw running through the woods that night long ago. He is her daughter's lover. Annie's identification sets in motion a spiral of tragic events that lead to the shocking denouement.
- A phone call from a remote north Sweden village sends police constable Thorsson on a journey across a frozen lake to investigate the death of an art teacher. The few inhabitants of the isolated village are closemouthed about what happened, leaving Thorsson to conclude that the death was accidental. Then a friend of the victim turns up, stirring the pot and forcing Thorsson to reopen the investigation.
Protagonist: Inspector Ann Lindell
Setting: Uppsala, Sweden
- When the mutilated body of a working-class family man and an expert on the tropical fish known as cichlids, is found in the snow in a provincial Swedish town, Ann Lindell quickly identifies a suspect, an embittered sociopath. The title derives from the common name of one of the victim’s beloved cichlids, and the aquarium is a neat metaphor for the dynamics of small-town life.
- Ann Lindell and her colleagues investigate the murders of three seemingly unrelated men in Uppsala. The connection, unclear to the police, is immediately apparent to the reader, as the author alternates the point of view between Lindell and a troubled woman whose father has recently disappeared.
Protagonist: Inspector Anders Knutas
Setting: Gotland, Sweden
- A young woman is discovered murdered on the island of Gotland during a busy tourist season. Suspicion initially falls on her husband - until other deaths start occurring. The authorities are worried about what it will do to the tourist trade. Inspector Anders Knutas is instructed to find answers quickly.
- Anders Knutas leads the investigation into the homicide of an alcoholic former news photographer who won a large sum of money before his death. Knutas uncovers a tenuous link between the photographer and a missing 14-year-old girl who worked at the local racing stable. Mysterious photographs are discovered and all evidence points to one of the girl’s co-workers.
Protagonist: Rebecka Martinsson, attorney at law
Setting: Arctic Sweden
- A charismatic church leader has been brutally murdered. After receiving a call from the victim’s sister, Sanna, Rebecka immediately leaves her law practice in Stockholm and returns to Kiruna and the craziness she thought she had escaped. Sanna is arrested for the murder, and Rebecka finds herself saddled with trying to prove her friend’s innocence while taking care of her two young girls.
- Rebecka again returns to her hometown of Kiruna to assist her friend, policewoman Anna Maria Mella, in the investigation of the brutal murder of the local priest.
Protagonist: Inspector Kurt Wallander
Setting: Southern Sweden
- Since his wife walked out on him, Kurt Wallander, a middle-aged cop in a small town, has drowned his sorrows in opera and far too much liquor. Such consolations can't help him absorb the scene at a farm, where elderly Johannes Lovgren has been brutally beaten and stabbed to death and where his wife, Maria, is found barely alive with a noose around her neck. Wallander learns that Lovgren, ostensibly a simple farmer, had a secret life involving wealth and connections unknown to his wife.
- Here Wallander takes on a probably fruitless task: investigating the murders of two unidentified men washed up on the Swedish coast in an inflatable dinghy. The only clues: their dental work suggests they're from an Eastern Bloc country. Their deaths mushroom into an international incident that takes Wallander to Riga, Latvia, and enmeshes him in a dangerous and emotionally draining situation.
- A young girl sits almost catatonic in an isolated farm field, and then sets herself on fire. Sweden's retired minister of justice, with a pornographic interest in young girls, takes his usual evening walk on the beach and meets a murderer's axe. With these possibly connected cases on his plate, Wallander and his team interrupt their personal agendas to identify the girl, expose unsavory personal/political secrets, and deal with the subsequent connected murder of an art dealer.
- Six weeks after three college students are murdered during a Midsummer's Eve party, Wallander’s colleague, Svedberg, is found at home with half his head blown off. The investigation points to a connection between Svedberg and the murders of the three young people. More murders follow, with the detectives just too late each time to prevent the next crime. Eventually the reader meets the killer, whose bizarre motive and methods the author gradually reveals.
- In the town of Ystad, a pair of seemingly random events takes place within a matter of days: two teenage girls with no apparent motive brutally beat and stab a taxi driver to death, and a remarkably healthy man checks his bank balance at an ATM and then collapses dead on the sidewalk. After two more odd murders, Wallander becomes convinced that the incidents are connected.
- This mystery opens with a startling image: a lawyer, driving home through the fog, stops after he sees "a human-sized effigy" propped on a chair in the middle of a deserted highway. He gets out of the car to investigate, is hit from behind and killed. The chief suspect—a powerful, globe-trotting Swedish businessman who's the smiling man of the title—leads Wallander on an exquisitely plotted search for motive and evidence.
- Kurt Wallander and his daughter Linda join forces to search for a religious fanatic on a murder spree. Just graduated from the police academy, Linda returns to Skane to join the police force, but before she even starts work she becomes embroiled in the case of her childhood friend Anna, who has inexplicably disappeared. As the case her father is working on dovetails with her own, something far more dangerous than either could have imagined begins to emerge.
Sjowall, Maj and Per Wahloo
Protagonist: Martin Beck
Setting: Stockholm, Sweden
- On a July afternoon, the body of a young woman is dredged from Sweden's beautiful Lake Vattern. Three months later, all that Police Inspector Martin Beck knows is that her name is Roseanna, that she came from Lincoln, Nebraska, and that she could have been strangled by any one of eighty-five people.
- Beck’s holiday has just begun, but when a neighbor gets a phone call, Beck finds himself packed off to Budapest, where a boorish journalist has vanished without a trace and Beck must troll about in the Eastern Europe underworld for a man nobody knows, with the aid of the coolly efficient local police, and at the risk of vanishing along with his quarry.
- When an apartment building under police surveillance mysteriously explodes in the middle of the night, it's up to Beck to solve the crime. Was it terrorism? Assassination? Or just a gas leak?
- A wealthy businessman is shot and killed while addressing a group of people at dinner in the elegant Savoy Hotel. The killer escapes out the window and leaves the scene on a bicycle, and nobody at the table got a decent look at him. Beck is brought in from Stockholm since the case has political repercussions arising from shady business transactions, including international arms sales.
- Martin Beck investigates a particularly brutal murder of a police officer in a hospital. With few clues, Beck and his colleagues eventually solve the case, but are overtaken by events in a bleak existential denouement.
Protagonist: Detective Inspector Irene Huss
Setting: Gothenburg, Sweden
- A cold rain is falling as commuters head home in the dark. A man falls and lands on the pavement. Did he slip from his balcony? Jump? Or was he pushed? Suicide seems obvious, but other evidence quickly surfaces that murder may have occurred. Irene Huss investigates the death with a word of caution that the victim is connected to the Swedish elite.
- The discovery of a dismembered corpse initiates a frustrating chase for a wily serial killer. The trail leads to Copenhagen, where Huss realizes the same murderer committed a similar horrific crime. After several more deaths, the complex investigation reaches a frightening climax and stunning conclusion.
- Detective Inspector Irene Huss investigates the murder of a family in which three of its members, a teacher, the teacher’s pastor father and his mother are murdered in two separate locations. Satanic symbols are left drawn in their blood. Huss’s investigation leads her to a child pornography and pedophile ring.