My favorite detectives!

DI John Rebus

Featured in: Ian Rankin’s series taking place in and around Edinburgh.

What I love about him: his quirky style, his taste in music, his reckless behaviour. His name! His accent 🙂

What I hate about him: his attitude to his ex-wife, Rhona, although he loves her, his stubbornness.

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Rebus as seen on the TV-series

DI Harry Hole

Featured in: Jo Nesbo’s series taking place in Oslo (and Hong-Kong).

What I love about him: His sense of duty, his self-loathing, his passion for his work. I also love the settings of Nesbo’s books even though I’ve never been to Oslo, or Norway for that matter!

What I hate about him: [spoiler] that he left his wife at the airport when he had promised he would fly away with her. His recklessness with his own life, almost like a suicidal streak.

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Author of Harry Hole, Jo Nesbo

DI Joona Linna

Featured in: Created by pair of authors Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril writing under the pseudonym Lars Kepler.

Joona’s cases are hard and get under your skin and his murderers are ruthless and personal.

What I love about him: I love the way he hunts the murderers down relentlessly trying to clear the earth of all evil.

I hate about him: how he sacrifices himself for higher causes. I pity him for the guilt with which he has to live.

Erica Falck

Featured in: Camilla Läckberg’s swedish crime novels taking place in the cute village of Fjällbacka, along with her partner and [spoiler] later husband, Patrick Hedström.

What I love about her: that is she not a detective but a writer, who happens to be found at the right spot at the right time and has a nosy and intuitive attitude to true crime stories.

What I hate about her: her obsession with kids and family! Totally opposite to all the other detectives featured in this post!!!

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Poster for the mini-series based on Lackberg’s books

Forensic Anthropologist Ruth Galloway

Featured in: Elly Griffiths’ series taking place in Norfolk.

What I love about her: that she is the accidental heroin of her own life 🙂 Aren’t we all, though? Her unconventional friends. Her house!

What I hate about her: her lack of self-confidence about her personal life and appearance!

I just have to add how much I love the setting of these books at the Norfolk area and marshland!

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One of the Ruth Galloway books

Investigative Analyst Fredrika Bergman 

Featured in: Kristina Ohlsson’s novels, set in Sweden

What I love about her: That she is a civilian and has the reservations and doubts that are not allowed in the police corp. Her house! I imagine it as the embodiment of Scandinavian style 😛

What I hate about her: Her doubts, which I guess come with the antagonism of having to work with all the male professional investigators.

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The first in the series feat. Fredrika Bergman

Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope

Featured in: Ann Cleeves’ novels taking place in northern England.

What I love about her: Oh, the sweet, sour, cunning Vera Stanhope, what is there not to like? Her sense of humour, her appetite, her self-sarcasm. The way she gets under people’s skins.

What I hate about her: How she teases her colleague John Ashford about his orthodox manners, his family, him being a «soft touch». But these are the same things that she secretly envies him for, so I forgive her 🙂

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DI Vera Stanhope as seen on the TV-series «Vera»

What most of those detectives have in common: they are loners, alcoholics, reckless, clever, estranged from partners. They are all somehow scarred (Vera Stanhope even has eczema, for heaven’s sake). They have good taste in music (most of them) and have a love/hate relationship with food.

Links on Detective’s names lead to Greek sites, while the links on the author’s names link to the international sites.

Do you miss someone? Do you think I should have featured some more? I didn’t write about Camilleri or Montalbano as I feel they need more words than a short post… But I think I hear some of you murmuring something about a certain Cormoran Strike??? Or any others?

Books and movies – Mr Holmes

I saw a very moving film last night

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An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes looks back on his life, and grapples with an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman.

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It made me bring out my favorite Detective Holmes books and it reminded me that Sherlock was not that cynical cold hearted robot the TV series depicted.

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 ***** It was based on the novel «A slight trick of the mind» by Mitch Cullin. 

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Books for my road trip

  1. After the crash, Michel Bussi / Το κορίτσι της πτήσης 5403

το κορίτσι της πτήσης 5403

22 Δεκεμβρίου 1980

Το αεροπλάνο που εκτελεί την πτήση 5403 πέφτει στα γαλλοελβετικά σύνορα και τυλίγεται στις φλόγες. 168 από τους 169 επιβάτες σκοτώνονται ακαριαία. Σώζεται μόνο ένα κοριτσάκι τριών μηνών. Δύο οικογένειες το διεκδικούν, και δεν υπάρχει τρόπος να διαπιστωθεί η ταυτότητά του. Έτσι ξεκινάει μια διαμάχη που θα διαρκέσει σχεδόν δύο δεκαετίες.

Ακούγεται μυστηριώδες, δεν έχω διαβάσει όμως καμία κριτική και ανησυχώ. Να το ψάξω λίγο περισσότερο;

2. White Nights by Ann Cleaves

Μου άρεσαν τα βιβλία της με την επιθεωρητή Βέρα Στάνχοπ και τώρα έχω ξεκινήσει αυτό. Ωραίο για το αεροπλάνο 🙂

white nights

3. The god of small things by Arundadi Roy / Ο θεός των μικρών πραγμάτων, Αρουντάτι Ρόι

Το πήρα για δώρο αλλά νομίζω ότι είναι μια καλή ευκαιρία να το ξαναδιαβάσω κι εγώ. Ό,τι πρέπει για ένα ταξίδι μέσα στη φύση!

ο θεός των μικρών πραγμάτων

Τα έχετε διαβάσει; Τι άλλο θα μου προτείνατε;

Book of the weekend – The Postcard Killers

By James Patterson and Liza Marklund

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I know, what common can a woman author from Sweden have with fiction machine – weird plot generator – super best selling author from America? Probably the latter. They are both huge selling authors in the crime genre. A co-authoring of a book by those two names certainly raises much attention.

Not being a huge fan of Patterson, this book definitely took me by surprise and I really devoured it in two long sittings! Liza Marklund seems like a good Scandinavian player in the crime thriller scene (hadn’t read anything by her but I have already bought 2 of her books to see what the rave’ s all about).

Now, the story is really interesting (although quite -no, very- creepy): Someone all over Europe is killing couples on their honeymoon or on romantic vacation. Gruesome, inexplicable staged murders which have a lot in common. The killer (or killers) send notes about their intended killings to low key journalists in the cities they plan to attack. 

A cop from New York, whose daughter was one of the first victims forms an unpredictable alliance with a young journalist and try to find the killers before they hit again. 

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Now, this for me was the best part of the book: a nice, original storyline. A nice big bowl of ice-cream with delicious toppings eaten on your couch on a Saturday afternoon.

Have you read it or anything by these two authors? Would you recommend another one of their books? I’d love to know!

Guilty pleasure – Why I love reading crime novels

I have often found crime novels to be listed among book bloggers’ «guilty pleasures» and more often than not I have wondered why would someone who generally loves books feel guilty reading a good suspense novel. It’s true, crime, mystery or detective are often poorly written, superfluous and/or shallow. But on the other hand, there are some really good detective novels out there! And they would require a whole other blog post to talk about them.

talented mr ripley

The thing is detective, mystery, crime novels and thrillers are just so many and many authors have even admitted of hiring ghostwriters for their books. But which literary genre does not have such examples of badly written, shallow prose which makes you cringe? All of them do, I am positive on that. So why feel guilty for reading -and loving- crime novels?  

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I really don’t and here are some reasons I read them with pleasure:

  • They are definitely better than bad television.
  • They have plots, plot twists, flash backs, interesting characters (usually) and (always, guaranteed) a lot of passion.
  • They do not focus much on romantic relationships which can cause anxiety to an already depressed person (such as love stories, tales of long lost lovers and despair) and deal instead with facts. In fact I think they are the perfect genre to read when recovering from emotional trauma or when going through a rough patch in your private or business life. Because:
  • They demand your attention in a cold, scientific way: find the killer, the motive, save the intended victim and so on and so forth. No drama for you, only for the heroes.
  • They can keep you hooked and don’t dwell much on pointless descriptions of scenery and the heroes’ inner thoughts and feelings – they somehow acknowledge that  this is not why we read them and it should be left to the grand masters of storytelling and the classics.
  • They are often exotic in a refreshing kind of way: they take you to places you might or might not have been as every other good fiction novel does. (I have come to know all about Stockholm archipelago with all these scandi thrillers I’ve read lately)

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So where I’m going with this is:  there are badly written and beautifully written books in all literary genres. 
Just choose your poison wisely 🙂

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Do you agree or do you consider crime fiction a lesser kind of literature?

Book of the weekend

I’ve read 3 Lars Kepler novels and I have to say The Fire Witness is by far my favorite!

Take it on a plane with you and you will not lift your head once (OK maybe for refreshments)!

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Take it on the beach and I guarantee you will be Brown Sugar Babe by afternoon (remember to change sides often)!

Begin it at home and be prepared to stay fixed on the couch until you finish it (make sure you’ve done your grocery shopping before beginning)!

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The past holds the secrets to the future

Flora Hansen calls herself a medium and makes a living by pretending to commune with the dead. But after a gruesome murder at a rural home for wayward girls, Hansen begins to suffer visions that are all too real. She calls the police, claiming to have seen a ghost, but only one detective puts aside his skepticism long enough to listen: Joona Linna.

Linna has spent more time at the scene of the crime than any other detective would. The case seems obvious on the face of it: One of the girls at the home escaped in the middle of the night, leaving behind a bloody bed with a hammer under the pillow. But why does Hansen insist that the murder instrument was a stone, not a hammer? And what’s the story behind the dark red grain of sand, almost like a splinter from a ruby, stuck beneath the dead girl’s fingernail? As Linna refuses to accept easy answers, his search leads him into darker, more violent territory, and finally to a shocking confrontation with a figure from his past.

Joona Linna is a great detective, although a controversial figure, very clever and intuitive and the plot is so well crafted that doesn’t leave you hanging and waiting for the detective to explain what he has discovered; it is like you are learning and thinking things at the same time with him, therefore forming your own theories and testing them along with Joona. A really good crime series. Have you read any Joona Linna mysteries by Lars Kepler? What did you think? In Greek it has been publishes by Patakis publications.

Book of the weekend #1

A book I loved this weekend full of news, referendum updates and politics.

Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves. I really like Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope and I enjoyed this more than Cleeves’ Shetland series.

Dysfunctional low personal self-esteem but very efficient professionally detective, interesting characters, a decent plot and a nice setting.

Add a relaxing Sunday morning, a freddo cappucino, an ice-cream treat from my ❤ and you get the picture.

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When DI Vera Stanhope finds the body of a woman in the sauna room of her local gym, she wonders briefly if, for once in her life, she’s uncovered a simple death from natural causes. But a closer inspection reveals ligature marks around the victim’s throat – death is never that simple.

Doing what she does best, Vera pulls her team together and sets them interviewing staff and those connected to the victim, while she and colleague, Sergeant Joe Ashworth, work to find a motive. While Joe struggles to reconcile his home life with the demands made on him by the job, Vera revels being back in charge of an investigation again. Death has never made her feel so alive.

And when they discover that the victim had worked in social services, and had been involved in a shocking case involving a young child, then it appears obvious that the two are somehow connected. Though things are never as they seem…

4 of the UK’s leading crime writers


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After my Scandi marathon I decided to read some UK crime fiction and let u all know how it was. I have loved Ian Rankin and Rebus in the past and his high praise for some of these novelists has definitely got me going.

Elly Griffiths – Ruth Galloway series

Set in Norfolk (my university area) so I was inclined to love this one. I really liked the forensic archaeology point of view. The style is very enjoyable, with interesting and extravagant characters and I really think  it deserves a Camilla Lackberg type of success. I loved Harry Nelson the detective and Ruth Galloway herself though obsessed with her little daughter makes a decent heroine, with self consciousness issues but very human and approachable. I really liked this series! The author’s page even has some pictures from the places that inspired her and makes it really easy to imagine the atmosphere and setting of the novels.

Bones Cover visual

Lesley Thomson A kind of vanishing

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In the summer of 1968, Alice discovers a secret about Eleanor Ramsay’s mother. One day they play hide-and-seek and Alice disappears. Years later, Eleanor’s father dies violently. 40-year-old Alice Kennedy attends his funeral. When Alice’s teenage daughter Chris becomes suspicious of her mother’s past and turns detective, an extraordinary turn of events opens up shocking truths for the Ramsay family and all those who knew the missing girl.

I’ve only just yesterday begun this one but seems really intriguing and with vivid imagery!

TO BE READ:

William Shaw – Breen & Tozer 

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London, October 1968. As Beatles fans encamp outside Abbey Road Studios up the road, the Marylebone CID is as much an old boys’ club as it ever was: comfortably sexist, racially prejudiced and crawling with corruption.

Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen is the pariah of the office, having just run out on a fellow officer held at knifepoint, when it’s shaken up by the arrival of WPC Helen Tozer: awkward chatterbox, farmgirl, and the first woman to enter the murder unit – apart from the secretary.

The first in a trilogy featuring DS Breen and WPC Tozer, set against a clashing backdrop of sixties idealism and a corrupted CID on the brink of exposure.

I really loved the 60’s edge and I’m looking forward to reading it next week!

Susan Wilkins – The Informant

Set in London and Essex, The Informant is a story of ruthless criminals, corrupt cops, obsessive love and the villainy that operates on both sides of the law.

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I’m not so sure if this is going to be my kind of thing but I’m definitely eager to find out! Sounds like good stuff for an action packed movie 🙂

Have you read any of these and what did you think? Would you recommend any other British crime series or stand alones?

Have a great Sunday and a quick and painful Monday my friends!!! 🙂