(Danish crime story, not translated into English)
I visited our local library two weeks ago to try some of their recent, Scandinavian crime fiction. In my circles, Jens Østergaard is quite the buzzword these days, and I agree that he writes well, and the plot, inspired by Slavonic legends, was good and innovative. I can imagine he has spent quite some time researching Russian legends about dragons and heroes, and he uses his knowledge well.
One plot cliché made me groan, however. Police officer Thomas Nyland gets on the track because one of the victims holds something in his hand – an item he grabbed while struggling with the killer. This idea may have been fresh and original when Arthur Conan Doyle used it in The Reigate Squire, but… Besides, Thomas Nyland is hurt early on, and for personal reasons, he refuses to stay at home to recuperate while his colleagues work on the case. Instead, he darts off on his own and more or less solves the case single-handedly, aided by a young, female expert on Slavonic culture. We have also heard that story once or twice before, haven’t we?
My general impression: a promising writer – three or four stars for a good beginning, but Østergaard must find a way around those clichés.
Dorte – Interesting that people are still using those devices (the victim grabbed something from the killer). Still, it does sounds like a solid idea for a plot. I’ll be interested to see if it gets translated.
I know that his books are on the way in German right now. I have asked him if he knows anything about English translations. If he responds, I will add his answer to the post, of course.
I guess we have to remember real life crimes are seldom solved as easily as our fictional sleuths make them out to be – even without using plot devices like these. The dragon/hero legends sound like an interesting twist, though.
Well, in Denmark real-life murder is usually solved VERY easily. Most murders here are committed by family members in rage or despair. So I have much higher expectation to book murders because I expect the writer to be smarter and spend much more time planning HIS crimes 😉
Some interesting thoughts here. I must admit to being frequently disappointed by the cliche but then they do say there were only ever a few totally original stories ever written.
That’s true. Still, the imaginative writer will always find new ways to combine the pieces of the puzzle 🙂