Top Nordic Noir films and TV series

Winter keeps its grip, lockdown is still highly relevant and we seem to be shut indoors for yet some more weeks. So why not escape the boredom by watching an exciting crime fiction TV series set in a Scandinavian country?
When it comes to Nordic Noir most people probably think of books, but there are a whole lot of really good crime fiction television dramas too. I have started to compile a list of Nordic Noir films and TV-series, but I would like to highlight some favourites:

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Petrona Award 2020 – a first for Finnish crime fiction

The first Finnish crime fiction novel to receive the Petrona Award is Little Siberia, a highly original, dark and funny story by Antti Tuomainen.
A man with dark thoughts on his mind is racing along the remote snowy roads of Hurmevaara in Finland, when there is flash in the sky and something crashes into the car. That something turns about to be a highly valuable meteorite. Said to be worth 1 million euros, it immediately captures the interest of the locals as well as some Russian visitors. To protect it from greedy hands, the meteorite is temporarily placed in a neighbourhood museum, to be watched by Joel Huhta, the local pastor. But Joel has a lot more on his mind than simply protecting the meteorite from thieves. His wife has just revealed that she is pregnant, but Joel has strong reason to think the baby isn’t his. At the same time as Joel tries to fend off repeated attempts to steal the meteorite, he must also try to find out who the father of the baby really is. And his two problems seem to be somehow connected.

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Back to Siglufjörður once more

Winterkill is said to be the final book in the bestselling Dark Iceland series by Ragnar Jónasson, so this may be the last time we hear about Ari Thór Arason and Siglufjörður.
Ari Thór is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. Easter weekend is approaching and a family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening. Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a nursing home writes “She was murdered” on the wall in his room, there are many signs that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death. As the extreme weather closes in, Ari Thór must investigate and piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth…

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Snowdrift – classic crime fiction by Helene Tursten

Snowdrift is the third installment in Helene Tursten’s classic crime fiction series featuring Detective Inspector Embla Nyström at the Gothenburg police.

Snowdrift picks up only eight days after the end of Winter Grave, where Embla received a call from her childhood friend Lollo. It’s been fourteen years since Lollo disappeared from a nightclub in Gothenburg, probably kidnapped by the Stavic brothers, gangsters operating in Gothenburg. Embla is thrilled to learn that Lollo is still alive, but the call is cut off before she can ask anything – and soon Embla gets another phone call. A man has been found shot dead in a guest house in rural Sweden and when Embla arrives on the scene, she receives another shock.

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A wintry and creepy Icelandic TV drama

The first season of the Icelandic television drama Trapped is set against a dramatic and snowy backdrop. A floating limbless and headless corpse is hauled in by a fishing boat just as the ferry from Denmark arrives into a remote Icelandic seaport. Not before long a severe blizzard grounds the airplanes and closes all roads. As all access to the town is cut off, its three-person police force is left alone to prevent the 300 passengers to leave the ferry as some of them might have something to do with the mutilated body. Everyone is fearful, everyone is suddenly suspect – and not before long there are more dead bodies.

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Snowy, chilly and tense holiday reading

Violent blizzards and heavy snowfall, long, dark and cold nights in vast and desolate landscapes. You could hardly imagine a more perfect setting for crime fiction novels – and there are some really good cases. Besides, what could be better than to escape into a chilling mystery in these days of quarantine and isolation? Snowy landscapes and fierce settings might even make you appreciate the comfort of staying at home in a warm and cozy environment. So, here are some of my favourite wintry mysteries for you holiday reading list:

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Varg Veum and Bergen – past and present

Fallen Angels is a tense and deeply unsettling thriller, where Gunnar Staalesen lets you meet Varg Veum early on in his career as Private Investigator in Bergen.

When PI Varg Veum finds himself at the funeral of a former classmate on a sleet-grey December afternoon, he’s unexpectedly reunited with an old friend. Jakob used to be the guitarist of the once-famous rock band The Harpers and married the first woman that Varg ever loved, Rebecca. They try to revive the younger and merrier days, but their rekindled friendship is thrown into jeopardy by the discovery of a horrific murder. The killing seems somehow connected to the past and Varg is forced to dig deep into his own adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive and a killer.

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Another cold case for Wisting

The Inner Darkness is a superbly plotted police procedural featuring Chief Inspector William Wisting in Larvik, written by awarded Norwegian crime fiction author Jørn Lier Horst.
After four years behind bars, notorious serial killer Thomas Kerr is ready to talk and has agreed to lead the police to his final victim’s grave. But the expedition goes horribly wrong and Kerr makes a dramatic escape, injuring several of the police in his escort. After Kerr´s escape deep into the Norwegian forests, Wisting must launch a frantic search to find this cold-blooded killer before he strikes again.

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10 best Nordic Noir 2020

The months go by fast and it is time to sum up the best releases in Scandinavian crime fiction during 2020. Besides, the holidays are approaching and this year staying at home reading seems to be a very relevant option. I have chosen some of my personal favourites from 2020 – to add on your holiday reading list or maybe check out as the perfect gift for the crime fiction lover.

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Witch hunt in snowy Helsinki

There are not many Finnish crime fiction writers translated into English, but Max Seeck is a new and highly original voice. His novel The Witch Hunter centers around some gruesome murders in today´s Helsinki – with puzzling ties to witchcraft and the occult.

Detective Jessica Niemi is called to investigate a murder case in an affluent Helsinki suburb, a case which is completely out of the ordinary. Famous author Roger Koponen´s wife has been found dead in a gorgeous black evening gown, sitting at the head of an empty dining table. The most chilling feature is that her face is frozen in a ghastly smile.

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