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, The Adventures of Dagobert Trostler (2017) by Balduin Groller
AustraliaThe 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), 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 Jay,  The Black Express (aka Great Black Kanba) (1945) by Constance and Gwenyth Little                                              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). Also by Rosenkrantz: The Man in the Cellar (1907)                                                                       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)
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                                                                                             HollandThe Dinner (2009) by Herman Koch                                                                                                          Iceland: Why Did You Lie? by Yrsa Sigurdardottir                                                                                                       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), The Final Days of Abbot Montrose (2018) by Sven Elvestad
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                                                                                                               Singapore: The Frangipani Tree Mystery (2017), The Betel Nut Tree Mystery (2018)                                                                                                                                                                           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


  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

  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?


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