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Scandinavian noir or Scandinavian crime fiction, also called Nordic noir, is a genre comprising crime fiction written in Scandinavia with certain common characteristics, typically in a realistic style with a dark, morally complex mood. According to some critics, "Nordic crime fiction carries a more respectable cachet... than similar genre fiction produced in Britain or the US". Language, heroes and settings are three commonalities in the genre, which features plain, direct writing style without metaphor.
The novels are often of the police procedural subgenre, focusing on the monotonous, day-to-day work of police, though not always involving the simultaneous investigation of several crimes. Examples include The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels by Stieg Larsson, and Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander detective series.
Some critics attribute the genre's success to a distinctive and appealing style, "realistic, simple and precise…and stripped of unnecessary words". Their protagonists are typically detectives worn down by cares and far from simply heroic.
The works also owe something to Scandinavia's political system where the apparent equality, social justice, and liberalism of the Nordic model is seen to cover up dark secrets and hidden hatreds. Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, for example, deals with misogyny and rape, while Henning Mankell's Faceless Killers focuses on the failures of multiculturalism.
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Authors such as Henning Mankell, Mari Jungstedt, Kjell Eriksson, Kerstin Ekman, Håkan Nesser, Åke Edwardson, Helene Tursten, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, Åsa Larsson, Liza Marklund, Stieg Larsson, Leif GW Persson, Camilla Läckberg, Robert Karjel (all Swedish), Arnaldur Indriðason, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (Icelandic), Pernille Rygg, Anne Holt, Karin Fossum, Jo Nesbø, Hans Olav Lahlum, Gunnar Staalesen (all Norwegian) and Jussi Adler-Olsen and Peter Høeg (Danish) have contributed to the creation and establishment of the genre.
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