A must-read for all aspiring Nordic noir scholars.
This is a book that's true to its title, as it offers a comprehensive analysis of the history of crime fiction on each Nordic country (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland) as well as plenty of historical and socio-political information about them. In my opinion, M. Brunsdale's book along with Jakob Stougaard Nielsen's Scandinavian Crime Fiction make up a kind of "Holy Bible" for all aspiring Nordic noir scholars out there and it is a must-read for those who want to learn more about the Nordic countries in terms of political reality, prosperity, the infamous welfare state, and its long history, social problems like immigration and drug abuse, etc.
The encyclopedia is divided into 5 chapters, one for each country, and the author's analysis covers a wide time-span as in some cases, he begins from the 19th century and goes on till the present time. Brunsdale writes in a plain, simple language focusing on the variety and accuracy of the information presented rather than using an elaborate writing style that would perhaps baffle the reader. Though the subject area of the Encyclopedia of Nordic Crime Fiction is extensive, the writer succeeds in tackling the problem by feeding his reader with bits of information categorized according to certain topics.
What makes this book invaluable though is the vast number of references concerning crime fiction works or authors of the previous decades while quoting a variety of individuals. either social scientists or politicians, who always have something important to say about the connection between the genre's novels/films and the socio-political reality of each country. When I finished reading this book, I felt a ton wiser than before and now I can claim that I have a better view of the general context in which Nordic crime fiction was born and subsequently blossomed. Brunsdale's encyclopedia is a text that you will check out again and again if you are keen on the subject as it is a lot more than a useful guide/companion for those who ignore the Nordic noir phenomenon that dominates today's publications. It is, above all, a helpful scientific tool for all sociology and literary theory scholars who wish to enhance their horizons and learn more about their favorite genre. My honest rating is 5/5 stars and I strongly recommend Encyclopedia of Nordic Crime Fiction to the readers who are thirsty for significant, notable reference books.