Crime Fiction Around the World

I really enjoy reading translated crime fiction, as I think it provides a lot of variety and innovation and in particular it can reveal a lot about a culture or country; an idea which Mark Lawson pursued in his BBC Radio 4 programme: Foreign Bodies. Below is a map of the countries I have currently read books from and I’ve listed which books they are (except for the UK and USA, as there would be far too many to add). Which countries have you read books from? I am keen to read crime books from countries I haven’t read yet, so feel free to post recommendations below as well.


Argentina: The Paris Enigma (2007) by Pablo De Santis    

Austria: Master of the Day of Judgement (1921) by Leo Perutz, The Adventures of Dagobert Trostler (2017) by Balduin Groller

Australia: The Corpse in the Cellar (2015) and The Country House Murders (2015) by Kel Richards, Murder in the Telephone Exchange (1948), So Bad a Death (1949), The Devil’s Caress (1952) and Duck Season Death (2015) by June Wright, Grim Pickings (1987), Murder by the Book (1989), Death in Store (1993) and Lamb to the Slaughter (1995) by Jennifer Rowe, The Running Woman (1966) and The Whispering Wall (1969) by Patricia Carlon, Beat Not the Bones (1952) by Charlotte JayThe Black Express (aka Great Black Kanba) (1945) by Constance and Gwenyth Little, The Right Honourable Corpse (1952) by Max Murray, Goodbye Sweet William (1959) by Pat Flower, Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone (2022) by Benjamin Stevenson, Murder in Rockwater (1944), Murder and Poor Jenny (1954), Murder of Olympia (1956) and The Hateful Voyage (1956) by Margot Neville

Belgium: George Simenon’s Maigret series: The Murderer (1936)

Brazil: Alone in the Crowd (2007) by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Riza

China: Death of a Red Heroine (2009) by Qiu Xiaolong

Cuba: The Athenian Murders (2000) by Jose Carlos Somoza

Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia): The Mournful Demeanour of Lieutenant Boruvka (1966), Sins for Father Knox (1, 2) (1973) and The Return of Lieutenant Boruvka (1981) by Josef Skvorecky

Denmark: ‘A sensible course of action’ in Hugh Greene’s More Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (1971) and The Forest Lake Mystery (1903) and The Man in the Cellar (1907) by Baron Palle Rosenkrantz

Finland: Ice Moon (2003) by Jan Costin Wagner

France: The Blackmailers (1867) by Émile Gaboriau, The Mystery of the Yellow Room (1908) by Gaston Leroux, ‘Arsene Lupin in Prison’ and ‘The Red Silk Scarf’ by Maurice Leblanc, The Sleeping-Car Murders (1962) by Sebastian Japrisot, The Seven Wonders of Crime (1997) and The Seventh Hypothesis (1991) by Paul Halter, A Novel Bookstore (2009) by Laurence Cossé, 120 Rue de la Gare (1943) by Léo Malet, The Murder of Father Christmas (1934) by Pierre Véry

Georgia: Boris Akunin’s Erast Fandorin series – All the World’s a Stage (2017), Black City (2018), and Sister Pelagia series

Germany: ‘Anonymous Letters’ by Baldwin Groller in Hugh Greene’s More Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (1971), The Dragon Scroll (2005) by I. J. Parker, Three Bags Full (2005) by Leonie Swann

Greece: The Taint of Midas (2008) by Anne Zouroudi

Holland: The Dinner (2009) by Herman Koch

Iceland: Why Did You Lie? by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

India: A Will to Kill (2019) by R. V. Raman

Ireland: Death at Crane’s Court (1953), Sent to his Account (1954) and Death in the Quadrangle (1956) by Eilís Dillon, Common or Garden Crime (1945), A Hive of Suspects (1952) and A Brush With Death (1950) by Sheila Pim

Israel: Literary Murder (1994) by Batyab Gur

Italy: The Murdered Banker (1935), The Hotel of the Three Roses (1936) and The Mystery of the Three Orchids (1942) by Augusto De Angelis, The Knight and Death and Other Stories (1988) by Leonardo Sciascia, The Patience of the Spider (2004) by Andrea Camilleri [Sicily: Agony (1897/2020) by Federico de Roberto, trans. by Andrew Edwards]

Japan: The Honjin Murders (1946), Death on Gokumon Island (1947-48) by Seishi Yokomizo, Shotaro Yasuoka, Kobo Abe, Shizuko Natsuki, Edogawa Rampo, Naoya Shiga, Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Tatsuzo Ishikawa, Haruto Ko and Seicho Matsumoto in Murder in Japan: Japanese Stories of Crime and Detection (1987) ed. by John Apostolou, The Decagon House Murders (1987) by Yukito Ayatsuji

New Zealand: Ngaio Marsh’s Inspector Alleyn series: Death and the Dancing Footman (1942), Colour Scheme (1943),  Black as he’s Painted (1974), Photo Finish (1980), The Collected Short Fiction of Ngaio Marsh (1989)

Norway: 1222 (2007) by Anne Holt, Hans Olav Lahlum’s K2 series: The Human Flies (2010), The Catalyst Killing (2015), Chameleon People (2016), The Anthill Murders (2017), Sven Elvestad’s Through Three Rooms (1907; 2023) The Man Who Plundered the City (1915; 2021) and  The Final Days of Abbot Montrose (1917; 2018)

I also wrote a piece on Lahlum’s amateur sleuth Patricia here.

Romania: Attack in the Library (1983) by George Arion

Russia: ‘The Swedish Match’ (1882-1885?) by Anton Chekov, Crime and Punishment (1886) by Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Matiushin Case (1997) by Oleg Pavlov [Boris Akunin (see Georgia) also sets his novels in this country]

Singapore: A Gentleman’s Murder (2018) by Christopher Huang,  The Frangipani Tree Mystery (2017), The Betel Nut Tree Mystery (2018) by Ovidia Yu

Spain: The Flanders Panel (1990) by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Sweden: Frank Heller’s Beware of Railway-Journeys (1923), Maria Lang’s No More Murders (1951), Maj Sjowall’s and Per Wahloo’s Martin Beck series – The Fire Engine that Disappeared (1969), The Scent of Almonds and Other Stories (2015) by Camilla Lackberg

Switzerland: The Inspector Barlach Mysteries (1950-1953) by Friedrich Durrenmatt


Ukraine: A Matter of Life and Death (2005) and The Case of the General’s Thumb (2009) by Andrey Kurkov



  1. A great crime list from around the world. In addition, may I suggest “The Shadow Walker by Michael Walters? It’s Book 1 of 3 in the Inspector Nergui Series and is set in modern Mongolia. I’ve read all 3 and can recommend them.


  2. Colin Coterill’s writes two awesome series ftom Laos, and Viet Nam: Dr. Siri, a retired physician pressed into service in his 70’s in the 70’s after the war. as a mortician (plus his wonderful set of friends and amaxing wife); and the Jim ( a young woman) series set in Viet Nam– one title is: Granpa, There’s aHead On the Beach. Both series are just great.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think I have read one of Coterill’s books. Can’t remember the title now, but I remember enjoying the central character Dr Siri. Definitely a series I need to re-visit, so thanks for the reminder.


  3. Hi,

    I notice Singapore isn’t yet on your murder map. I would love to have my publisher send you a copy of The Frangipani Tree Mystery if you’d like.

    (Take a peek at )

    Or a copy of my next history mystery ‘The Betel Nut Tree Mystery’, scheduled for release June 2018?


    And please know you have fans in Singapore!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. In my quarterly newsletter, Groans, Cries and Bleatings, I have been going Around the World in 80 Mysteries. I have just finished with Africa and am starting off to Latin America having done Europe and Asia. It has been a wonderful experience, giving me a sense of other cultures. Interesting that except for classics like Crime and Punishment, I haven’t read most of the books listed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well if you ever fancy taking a second tour around the world you could always use these titles as suggestions. I am keen to read more older mystery fiction from around the world, i.e. before 1960. Are there any titles/authors you would recommend?


  5. A recommendation from India: try the Byomkesh Bakshi series by Saradindu Bandyopadhyay. The British Library Crime Classics book “Foreign Bodies” has one story from this series.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You might enjoy Shamini Flint’s Inspector Singh Investigates series. Inspector Singh is Singaporean but is frequently loaned to police forces in other countries in SE Asia by his bosses (mainly because they can’t stand him).


  7. An amazing list! I admire your enthusiasm for reading detective fiction from around the world. From your list I am most familiar with the works of George Simenon, Sebastian Japrisot, Gaston Leroux, Leonardo Sciascia and Andrea Camilleri. It’s hard for me to categorise the work that I personally read by Kobo Abe as “crime fiction”…perhaps I am still to read something along these lines by him. The same goes for Tanizaki.

    In recent years I have enjoyed Jane Harper books (Australia), Louise Penny books (Canada), and can recommend books by Seishi Yokomizo (Japan), Henning Mankell (Sweden) and Frédéric Dard (France).

    Liked by 1 person

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