Historical novel set mainly in Asia, London and USA
Ten great books set in Stockholm
15th June 2021
Stockholm is the latest destination in our ‘Ten great books set in…’ series. Ten great books set in Stockholm. The city, the capital of Sweden, encompasses 14 islands and more than 50 bridges on an extensive Baltic Sea archipelago. The cobblestone streets and ochre-colored buildings of Gamla Stan (the old town) are home to the 13th-century Storkyrkan Cathedral, the Kungliga Slottet Royal Palace and the Nobel Museum, which focuses on the Nobel Prize. Ferries and sightseeing boats shuttle passengers between the islands.
‘Skita i det blå skåpet’ (‘to shit in the blue locker’) – meaning you’ve gone too far. Swedish expression
The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl
In 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In a great haste, she escapes to Sweden, saving herself. Her family in Oslo, however, is deported to Auschwitz. In Stockholm, Ester meets the resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, who has left his little daughter and fled both the Germans and allegations that he murdered his wife, Åse, who helped Ester get to Sweden. Their burgeoning relationship ends abruptly when Falkum dies in a fire.And yet, twenty-five years later, Falkum shows up in Oslo. He wants to reconnect with his daughter. But where has he been, and what is the real reason for his return? Ester stumbles across information that forces her to look closely at her past, and to revisit her war-time training to stay alive…Written with Dahl’s trademark characterization and elegant plotting, The Courier sees the hugely respected godfather of Nordic Noir at his best, as he takes on one of the most horrific periods of modern history, in a exceptional, shocking thriller.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Setin Södermalm, a trendy, bohemian district in Stockholm, where charming galleries and cafes mingle with historic wooden cottages.
Central to the plot are Kalle Blomquist, a journalist convicted of libel and Lisbeth Salander, an expert system hacker and investigator, who can see patterns and links in the investigation that are not evident to to others. Blomquist is employed to investigate the unsolved disappearance of Harriet Vanger in the 1960’s and together they start to explore the complex story – violence, and suspense, set against a Nordic background
Still Waters by Viveca Sten
On a hot July morning on Sweden’s idyllic vacation island of Sandhamn, a man takes his dog for a walk and makes a gruesome discovery: a body, tangled in fishing net, has washed ashore.
Police detective Thomas Andreasson is the first to arrive on the scene. Before long, he has identified the deceased as Krister Berggren, a bachelor from the mainland who has been missing for months. All signs point to an accident—until another brutalized corpse is found at the local bed-and-breakfast. But this time it is Berggren’s cousin, whom Thomas interviewed in Stockholm just days before.
As the island’s residents reel from the news, Thomas turns to his childhood friend, local lawyer Nora Linde. Together, they attempt to unravel the riddles left behind by these two mysterious outsiders—while trying to make sense of the difficult twists their own lives have taken since the shared summer days of their youth.
The Bomber by Liza Marklund
Crime reporter Annika Bengtzon is woken by a phonecall in the early hours of a wintry December morning. An explosion has ripped apart the Olympic Stadium. And a victim has been blown to pieces.
As Annika delves into the details of the bombing and the background of the victim, there is a second explosion. These chilling crimes could be her biggest news story yet. When her police source reveals they are hot on the heels of the bomber, Annika is guaranteed an exclusive with her name on it.
But she is uncovering too much, and soon finds herself the target of a deranged serial killer…
The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler
Read the number one Scandinavian crime bestseller taking the world by storm
Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm.
Detective Inspector Joona Linna is faced with a boy who witnessed the gruesome murder of his family. He’s suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and is comatose with shock.
Linna’s running out of time. The killer’s on the run and, seemingly, there are no clues. Desperate for information, Linna enlists disgraced specialist Dr Erik Maria Bark, a hypnotist who vowed never to practice again.
As the hypnosis begins, a long and terrifying chain of events unfurls with reverberations far beyond Linna’s case.
The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann
In 18th century Stockholm, as the winds of revolution rage through the great capitals of Europe, the key to a nation’s fate rests in the hands of an unlikely hero.
Emil Larsson is a drinker, card player and contented bachelor until he is told that his position at the Office of Excise and Customs depends on his settling down and finding a wife. Mrs Sparrow, proprietor of an exclusive gaming house, fortune teller (and confidante of King Gustav III) offers to lay an Octavo for him – a form of cartomancy which can divine his future if he can find the eight individuals who can help him realise his vision.
When Mrs Sparrow wins a mysterious fan in her card game, the Octavo’s deeper powers are revealed. No longer just a game of the heart, collecting his Eight is now crucial to pulling his country back from the brink of rebellion and chaos.
Easy Money by by Jens Lapidus
If you’re having withdrawal symptoms after Henning Mankell wrote finis to the chronicles of Kurt Wallander, remember that it’s possible to take alternative journeys down the mean streets of Swedish cities. If you’re hardy enough to tackle crime narratives drenched in vitriol, grit your teeth and tackle Jens Lapidus’s lacerating Stockholm Noir trilogy: Easy Money is the first volume. Lapidus paints a more cosmopolitan canvas than other writers – not to mention employing a far grimmer and more nihilistic use of the genre, with nary a comforting Swedish copper in sight.
Stockholm: City of My Dreams by Per Anders Fogelström
This provides an interesting backstory to how Stockholm has developed into what we see today. This is the first volume in a 5 volume series. It is the struggle of poverty and how to get a better life, not an easy journey. Fascinating backdrop for understanding the city.
The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan
From internationally bestselling author Karen Swan comes The Hidden Beach, an addictive story of heartbreak, loyalty and hope, set in the historic city of Stockholm and along the beautiful archipelagos of the Swedish coast.
In the oldest part of Stockholm, Bell Everhurst is working as a nanny for an affluent family. Hanna and Max Mogert are parents to 7 year-old Linus, and 5-year old twins Ellinor and Tilde, and Bell has been with the family for over two years.
One early Spring morning, as she’s rushing out to take the children to school, she answers the phone – and everything changes. A woman from a clinic she’s never heard of asks her to pass on the message that Hanna’s husband is awake.
Bell is confused. She clearly just saw Max walking out of the house a few minutes earlier, but the woman mentioned Hanna by name . . .
When she gets hold of her employer, the truth is revealed: Hanna’s first husband fell into a coma seven years earlier, following an accident. But now he’s awake. And life is going to change for them all.
The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe
A young woman is found beheaded in an infamous business tycoon’s marble-lined hallway.
The businessman, scandal-ridden CEO of the retail chain Clothes & More, is missing without a trace.
But who is the dead woman? And who is the brutal killer who wielded the machete?
Rewind two months earlier to meet Emma Bohman, a sales assistant for Clothes & More, whose life is turned upside down by a chance encounter with Jesper Orre. Insisting that their love affair is kept secret, he shakes Emma’s world a second time when he suddenly leaves her with no explanation.
As frightening things begin to happen to Emma, she suspects Jesper is responsible. But why does he want to hurt her? And how far would he go to silence his secret lover?
Which other books set firmly in Stockholm would you add to this list, I wonder? Add them in the Comments below!
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