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.


ArgentinaThe Paris Enigma (2007) by Pablo De Santis                                                    AustriaMaster of the Day of Judgement (1921) by Leo Perutz
AustraliaThe Corpse in the Cellar (2015) and The Country House Murders (2015) by Kel  Richards, Murder in the Telephone Exchange (1948) and So Bad a Death (1949) by June Wright, Grim Pickings (1987) by Jennifer Rowe, The Running Woman (1966) by Patricia Carlon, Beat Not the Bones (1952) by Charlotte Jay                                                     Belgium – George Simenon’s Maigret series: The Murderer (1936)                                                                                                                                               BrazilAlone in the Crowd (2007) by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Riza
ChinaDeath of a Red Heroine (2009) by Qiu Xiaolong
CubaThe 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’ by Baron Palle Rosenkrantz in Hugh Greene’s More Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (1971)                                                                                   FinlandIce Moon (2003) by Jan Costin Wagner
FranceThe 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, Paul Halter’s The Seven Wonders of Crime (1997) and The Seventh Hypothesis (1991), A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé(2009)                                                                                                                                         HollandThe Dinner (2009) by Herman Koch
Georgia – Boris Akunin’s Erast Fandorin: All the World’s a Stage (2017) 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
GreeceThe Taint of Midas (2008) by Anne Zouroudi
IrelandDeath at Crane’s Court (1953), Sent to his Account (1954) and Death in the Quadrangle (1956) by Eilís Dillon, Common or Garden Crime (1945) and A Brush With Death (1950) by Sheila Pim,
IsraelLiterary Murder (1994) by Batyab Gur
ItalyThe 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
Japan – 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)
RomaniaAttack 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
SpainThe Flanders Panel (1990) by Arturo Perez-Reverte
Sweden – 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
SwitzerlandThe Inspector Barlach Mysteries (1950-1953) by Friedrich Durrenmatt
UkraineThe Case of the General’s Thumb (2009) by Andrey Kurkov


7 Responses to Crime Fiction Around the World

  1. Jane Risdon says:

    Fab seeing all these, thanks so much. Food for thought

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Graeme Lynch says:

    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.


  3. Tosia says:

    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 1 person

    • 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.


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