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Ten great books set in Copenhagen

17th July 2021

The latest place for us to visit in our ‘Great book set in…’ series is Copenhagen. Ten great books set in Copenhagen. Copenhagen sits on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager. It’s linked to Malmo in southern Sweden by the Öresund Bridge. Indre By, the city’s historic center, contains Frederiksstaden, an 18th-century rococo district, home to the royal family’s Amalienborg Palace. Nearby is Christiansborg Palace and the Renaissance-era Rosenborg Castle, surrounded by gardens and home to the crown jewels.

‘Ingen ko på isen’ – No cow on the ice – Danish expression meaning there are no problems or issues

Ten great books set in CopenhagenBlue Blood by Sara Blaedel

In an idyllic neighbourhood of Copenhagen, a young woman, Susanne Hansson, is discovered in her apartment bound and gagged, the victim of an extraordinarily brutal rape attack. Detective Inspector Louise Rick soon learns that Susanne met the rapist on a popular online dating site, something Susanne shamefully tries to hide.

Events quickly spiral out of control as a horrified Louise realises that the rapist is using the website to target specific women for future attacks. It’s not long before the next assault leads to its victim’s death and Louise finds herself in the middle of a full-blown murder investigation.

Undercover and in danger in a world of faceless dating, Louise must try and stop a murderer who has shocked Copenhagen to its core. But how much is she willing to risk in order to catch a killer?

Last Train to Helsingor by Heidi Amsinck

Copenhagen is a mysterious city where strange and sinister things often happen. Menacing and at times darkly humorous there are echoes of Roald Dahl and Daphne du Maurier in these stories, many of which have been specially commissioned for Radio 4. Heidi Amsinck is a writer and journalist born in Copenhagen. This is her first published collection of stories. She was previously shortlisted for the VS Pritchett Memorial Prize

Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Copenhagen detective Carl Mørck has been taken off homicide to run a newly created department for unsolved crimes. His first case concerns Merete Lynggaard, who vanished five years ago. Everyone says she’s dead. Everyone says it’s a waste of time. He thinks they’re right.

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg

One snowy day in Copenhagen, six-year-old Isaiah falls to his death from a city rooftop.The police pronounce it an accident. But Isaiah’s neighbour, Smilla, an expert in the ways of snow and ice, suspects murder. She embarks on a dangerous quest to find the truth, following a path of clues as clear to her as footsteps in the snow.

Ten great books set in CopenhagenThe Killing by David Hewson

Through the dark wood where the dead trees give no shelter Nanna Birk Larsen runs . . . There is a bright monocular eye that follows, like a hunter after a wounded deer. It moves in a slow approaching zigzag, marching through the Pineseskoven wasteland, through the Pentecost Forest. The chill water, the fear, his presence not so far away … There is one torchlight on her now, the single blazing eye. And it is here … Sarah Lund is looking forward to her last day as a detective with the Copenhagen Police department before moving to Sweden. But everything changes when nineteen-year-old student, Nanna Birk Larsen, is found raped and brutally murdered in the woods outside the city. Lund’s plans to relocate are put on hold as she leads the investigation along with fellow detective Jan Meyer. While Nanna’s family struggles to cope with their loss, local politician, Troels Hartmann, is in the middle of an election campaign to become the new mayor of Copenhagen. When links between City Hall and the murder suddenly come to light , the case takes an entirely different turn. Over the course of twenty days, suspect upon suspect emerges as violence, political intrigue cast their shadows over the hunt for the killer.

The Hanging by Lotte and Soren Hammer

On a cold Monday morning before school begins, two children make a gruesome discovery. Hanging from the roof of the school gymnasium are the bodies of five naked and heavily disfigured men. Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen and his team from the Murder Squad in Copenhagen are called in to investigate this horrific case – the men hanging in a geometric pattern: the scene so closely resembling a public execution. When the identities of the five victims and the disturbing link between them is leaked to the press, the sinister motivation behind the killings quickly becomes apparent to the police. Up against a building internet campaign and even members of his own team, Simonsen finds that he must battle public opinion and vigilante groups in his mission to catch the killers.

The Copenhagen Affair by Amulya Malladi

Set in the capital city of the world’s happiest country, a comedy of manners about depression, the pressures of marriage, and the possibility of falling in love again, from the bestselling author of A House for Happy Mothers.

Sanya was always the perfect wife, but after a breakdown at her office, it’s her husband Harry’s turn to step up. His proposal? A temporary move to Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital city. He needs to be there to close a business deal and figures the change of scenery will do her good. Soon Sanya goes from hiding under her duvet to hiding in plain sight—a dark-skinned Indian American in a city of blondes.

Within Copenhagen’s glamorous high society, one man stands out—not only because of his intriguing scar but because he sees Sanya in a way Harry hasn’t for years. Anders Ravn owns the company Harry wants to acquire, and soon Sanya begins to fall for him. As allegations of white-collar crime arise, she learns of Harry’s infidelity, and having an affair with Ravn seems ever more tempting. Surrounded by old money, smoked fish on dark breads, and way too many bicycles, Sanya slowly moves from breakdown to breakthrough, but where will she end up—and with whom?

Ten great books set in CopenhagenThe House That Jack Built by Jakob Melander

The first book in the crime series featuring Lars Winkler: loner, dad, former squatter, and drug addict — and the most dedicated detective in Copenhagen.

A young prostitute is found murdered at the common in Copenhagen. The woman’s body has been preserved and her eyes removed with surgical precision. Not long after, another body is discovered treated in the exact same manner. The press quickly names the spectacular case the Sandman Killings.

Detective Inspector Lars Winkler is put on the case. With an addiction to classical rock music and the odd line of speed, Lars is struggling to get his life back together, mostly with his sixteen-year-old daughter, Maria, who lives with him in his rundown apartment. His wife has left him for his old friend and former boss. Meanwhile, the atmosphere in the Homicide and Serious Crime Department is tense. Despite support from his new young partner, Sanne Bissen, Lars feels edged out. While tracking Copenhagen’s most sadistic serial killer to date, his past — which has long been kept secret — is slowly catching up to him.

The Poetic Murderer by Christoph Burmeister

“Fear will learn to fear you.”

If you liked Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist, you will love The Poetic Murderer.

Detective 00 Hansen is an enigmatic dreamer in the streets of Copenhagen, riding a fast antelope, and living a slow life (not always to the delight of his wife)…

In The Poetic Murderer, Hansen and Don Cindy’s first mystery, the duo are informed by Denmark’s Queen Marmalade II and Prince Sandwich about an unimaginable murder at the supermarket. The body is marked by violence and the murder weapon an unhygienic rainbow trout.

The police are baffled by the mysterious poem at the crime scene. But when Detective 00 Hansen applies his vivid imagination to the problem he uncovers a tragic tale of unrequited love and ruthless ambition… Will he stop the poetic murderer on the quest of a dream and fulfilment of his own destiny?

An unaesthetic fear of the unknown haunts us, namely the unforeseen. A fear that shapes our lives. No human can unlearn to fear; we all have to learn how to deal with it. By picking up this novel, the reader travels a new route and learns to lead a fearless life by trusting in the own reality.

The Royal Physician’s Visit by Per Olov Enquist

It is the 1760s, the height of the Enlightenment. The young King of Denmark, Christian VII, is a half-wit. His queen, the English princess Caroline Mathilde, has fallen in love with his most trusted advisor, the court physician Struensee. Guldberg, a cold-blooded religious fanatic, is determined to annihilate the Enlightenment ideas Struensee is introducing to Denmark—whoever prevails in their bitter ideological battle will control not only the king but the nation state.

Adultery, insanity, back-stabbing and blue blood… Enquist brilliantly recasts a dramatic era of Danish history, weaving a wide range of historical characters—Voltaire and Diderot, Catherine the Great and George III—into a tale of ruthless political ambition and personal betrayal.

Have you read any of these? Are there other you would add? Let us know in the Comments below…

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A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

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