Perfect for any die-hard fan of Scandinavian mysteries and culture.




An enthusiastic guide to the mysteries and the countries.

Threepenny Review founder Lesser, whose biography of Louis Kahn, You Say to Brick (2017), won multiple awards, has been a huge fan of Scandinavian mysteries since college. She shares her “eccentric and personal” excitement for them in this comprehensive and insightful assessment of noir novels from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. “What I have constructed here,” she writes, “is a map, or a portrait, or a cultural history of a place that both exists and does not exist.” Early on, Lesser shares how the ten-book series about Swedish homicide detective Martin Beck, written together in alternating chapters by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, “changed my life.” Beck’s friend Lennart Kollberg is “one of the great characters of detective fiction.” In Lesser’s opinion, the only series that approaches Beck’s in its “persuasively real experience” is Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander series. The author found Stieg Larsson’s uber-popular Lisbeth Salander series “un-putdownable” even though she “despised the cheap feminism of the books.” In the first section, Lesser broadly discusses all the novels via nifty alphabetically sequenced topics, from alcohol, erotica, and religion to xenophobia and zealous. She clearly has her finger on the pulse of Scandinavian society, discussing such topics as childhood abuse, obsessive references to original art, a scarcity of Jewish as well as female and gay cops, and sadism (“the worst sadist in all of Scandinavian literature is Karin Fossum,” whose novels are disturbing in a way that is “manipulatively, personally, intentionally pain-inducing”). In the second section, Lesser switches to third person as “she” describes a personal tour of the three countries. She feels at home in Sweden; Stockholm is “even lovelier than she expected.” In Oslo, a policeman tells her they only have about 12 homicides per year, and “compared to Oslo or Stockholm, Copenhagen is definitely a bit grungy.” Lesser’s opinionated Appendix summarizes the series that she has read, and her recommended list of TV adaptations is user-friendly as well.

Perfect for any die-hard fan of Scandinavian mysteries and culture.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-21697-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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