Oddly-Specific Genres: Exploring the Fjord Side

Happy New Year and welcome to the first installment of our new monthly series, Oddly-Specific Genres!

Last year, we hosted the 2016 Library Challenge, which was pretty intense. This year, we decided to take a more relaxed approach and are instead inviting you to step into a new genre in 2017…or really 12 new genres, one per month. And we don’t want people to get bored so we’ve come up with sub-genres, or perhaps sub-sub-genres (what I have termed “oddly-specific genres”) to tempt you to take that plunge. The library will be displaying books in that month’s Oddly-Specific Genre each month, and I will be highlighting some here and on our Facebook page. Read along with us and let us know with your comments on the blog or on our Facebook page. Prizes will be in store for those in the Berryville area that conquer at least 10 of these this year!

As winter begins to take hold, there is no better way to start off than with an escape to the fjord side…yes, you guessed it, Scandinavian murder mysteries, aka Nordic Noir (which just happens to be one of my personal favorites.) I’ve talked about my love for Scandinavian fiction here before, but what I love about the books in this genre are their highly atmospheric settings and their psychological insight. Most of the authors I’ve read in this genre are skilled at combining police procedurals with thrillers, and even though these books can be fast-paced, they also tend to be more character-driven than a lot of other mysteries.

With that being said, let the Scandinavian crime spree commence!

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Rennie Airth’s River of Darkness (1999)

 

River of Darkness

Recently, the Berryville Library purchased Rennie Airth’s John Madden mystery series. The first book in the series, River of Darkness, is set in 1920s England, when the specter of World War I still permeated the country’s psyche and Freudian psychological theories were still new and just starting to gain traction. In the novel, Scotland Yard Inspector John Madden is summoned to assist with the investigation of a shocking crime in a pastoral English village. Here, a local family has been brutally slaughtered, and the details simply do not add up for Madden. Several of his colleagues suspect the crime is the result of a robbery gone very wrong, but Madden thinks too many clues suggest that the murders were the killer’s (or killers’) focus.

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