A taste for Nordic Noir in Stockholm

I’ve read the novels of Henning Mankell; on TV I’ve seen both the Swedish version, and Kenneth Branagh’s interpretation of the world-weary detective Kurt Wallander. (Perhaps he was just weary of the insistent ringtone on his mobile that goes off at the most inopportune moments).

 

Stockholm: cold, dark and deep water?

 

 

I was an avid follower of ‘Arne Dahl’ on BBC 4, with its mature female chief leading an elite squad of detectives, facing the problems of investigating crime in contemporary Stockholm.

I came late to ‘The Bridge’, I missed ‘The Killing’, and Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series was a step too far into the dark for me, but they all reinforced my prejudice that Stockholm might not be a safe place to wander in at night.

 

Night scene, Stockholm, with vulnerable pedestrian

 

I arrived in the city for the first time with a guilty thrill of anticipation that at some point over the coming weekend I might hear of the discovery of a corpse, brutally murdered and horribly mutilated, in a dark corner somewhere near the hotel.

 

“The woman was walking her terrier, Garbo, in the park behind the National Library of Sweden. So as not to lose her dog in the dark, she had attached a flashing blue  light to its collar.  As she let the dog run free, the woman wondered why it was scrabbling in the undergrowth, under the light dusting of snow…..”

 

No. I couldn’t unleash my inner Wallander.

 

All I can report is that the Swedes wear a lot of black.

Quilted coats, black suits, leggings, stout boots, that sort of thing.

 

 

A mysterious man in black, posing as a shopper, but what was in his bag?

 

 

 

There’s a custom called Fika, which roughly translates as sharing time with a friend over a sweet pastry and a coffee, which is usually strong and…. black.

 

But then, on day two, I saw this:

 

 

“No! Don’t go with her…..” (not in that coat)

 

 

A man in a red plaid coat, carefully coordinated with yellow trousers and gloves; clearly a foreigner. Picked up on CCTV, the Swedish police might surmise he was being lured to his death by a Swedish woman in a black coat and boots. How could they possibly find her?

It was a race against time. Eager to help, and with a cover story of exploring Nordic food, for the rest of the weekend I was surreptitiously on the lookout for suspects.

 

 

He looked decidedly shifty

 

 

Nobody notices a market worker with a pallet truck

 

 

Miss Smilla’s feeling for snow?

 

 

This one blended right in.

 

 

Swedish food is more colourful than the dress code – more in my next post – but I hadn’t thought of it as existentialist, until I saw this place:

 

 

 

 

 

“Please wait to be seated” 

 

 

3 thoughts on “A taste for Nordic Noir in Stockholm

  1. Alex

    “I arrived in the city for the first time with a guilty thrill of anticipation that at some point over the coming weekend I might hear of the discovery of a corpse, brutally murdered and horribly mutilated, in a dark corner somewhere near the hotel.”

    I had the same thoughts when I visited Norway; at that point I’d only read Nesbo’s books and watched a couple of Norwegian Nordic Noirs (plus all the famous Danish and Swedish of course), but I was yet to watch the scandisasters “the Wave” and “the Quake”… Dangerous countries, I wonder how they top the world happiness lists…

    Great post by the way!

     
    Reply
  2. Sally Money

    This made me chuckle and reminded me that I’m rather sad there are no plans for a further series of The Bridge!

     
    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *