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Val McDermid and Louise Welsh, award winning crime writers, explore the explosion in Scandinavian crime writing from Sweden's Henning Mankell's Wallander to Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and rising Norwegian star Jo Nesbo. Rana Mitter hosts.
The last decade has seen Scandinavian crime fiction become a publishing sensation. But the phenomenon began in the 1960s with a Swedish couple, Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, who wrote the Martin Beck series of novels, written to highlight what they saw as the degeneration of Sweden. Henning Mankell's Inspector Kurt Wallender is now as famous for Kenneth Branagh's TV portrayal and for the Swedish television adaptation as it is for Mankell's original novels and Stieg Larsson's 'Millennium Trilogy' has sold over 40 million copies and has been filmed in both Sweden and America. So what is the international appeal of the novels famed for their bleak and cold plots?
The crime writers Louise Welsh and Val McDermid explore their favourite Scandinavian writers and discuss the success of the Scandinavian genre, how political the books are and why the protagonists tend to the stereotype of the Scandinavian melancholic.
The programme is part of Radio 3's Proms Plus Literary exploring some of the literary and cultural dimensions of this year's Proms concerts, in front of an audience at the Royal College of Music, right next door to the Albert Hall and just in advance of the concerts themselves.