There is a bizarre tradition in Norway at Easter time – to read crime novels, or “Påskekrim”. Before Easter all the book stores make a section for “Påskekrim” and respectable crime writers try to publish their new novels in time for the season.
Why do Norwegians read Påskekrim?
The tradition dates back to 1923, when two writers Nordahl Grieg and Nils Lie wanted to sell their crime novel. They made their stakes on marketing and on Holy Saturday Aftenposten, the most famous Norwegian newspaper, posted an article with the title “Bergen train looted last night” («Bergenstoget plyndret i natt»). The title was just an advertisement of the crime novel, but many people believed it was a real news article. This marketing stunt proved to be effective and the book sold well. Norwegians seemed to like the idea of reading crime novels and since that time Easter has become a high season for crime novels.
What to read at Easter?
No matter what your level of Norwegian is, you can find some Påskekrim and learn Norwegian with it! Let’s start with classic crime authors and novels for those who have a higher level of Norwegian.
- Jo Nesbø is the most famous Norwegian crime author. You might have heard about his famous novel “Snømannen” (“The Snowman”) which became a movie in 2018. His other book “Hodejegerne” (“Headhunters”) also was made into a movie. Nesbø’s books can be considered a Norwegian crime classic, so you should read at least one of his novels. Besides “Snømannen” and “Hodejegerne”, you may find “Politi” (“Police”), “Phantom” or “Sønnen” (“The Son”) interesting.
- Jørn Lier Horst is another crime author you should take a look at. He used to work as an investigating officer in the police, and that absolutely helps him to paint a realistic picture in his novels. Some of the author’s most popular books are “Det innerste rommet”, “Hulemannen” and “Blindgang”.
- If you are looking for female crime authors, Karin Fossum might be of interest. She is sometimes referred to as the “Norwegian queen of crime”. Her latest novel “Formørkelsen” received plenty of good critique in 2018. Other famous novels are “Elskede Poona”, “Svarte sekunder”, “Se deg ikke tilbake!”.
If you have learned Norwegian for a short while, there are still crime books that you might find easy to read. Jørn Lier Horst has written a series of crime books for children. The language in these books is easier and they are not as long, so you don’t have to spend ages reading one book. You may also check out “Krimteam Siri og Max” by Lars Mæhle and “Edward Rubikon” by Alexander Kirkwood.
Where do I get Norwegian books?
If you live in Norway, you just must take advantage of the amazing library collections in the country! It doesn’t matter where you live – libraries can order books from other cities. All you need is to ask a librarians about the books you are interested in. You can also loan audio books, so you can read and listen at the same time.
Another option is of course to buy books in bookstores, online or get an e-book if you live abroad. Check out the webpage ebok.no for a wide selection of e-books. Adlibris and Norli sell e-books as well.
If you have read some Norwegian crime novels that you have really enjoyed – do let us know in the comments! Also, don’t hesitate to share any sources you use for buying or reading Norwegian books. It might help someone else too! 🙂