Central Sweden, the heart of the country and the cradle of Swedish industry, is home to thriving enterprises and a booming steel industry.
Dalahorses from Svensk Hemslöjd, a famous symbol of Sweden. Photo: Louise Billgert/Image Bank Sweden
Referring to central Sweden as the heartland of Sweden implies its importance in terms of politics, commerce and culture. The significance of the region can be traced far back in history. Extractions from the Great Copper Mine in the northern part of the region started already in the 7th or 8th century. Later on, the findings there helped pave the way for Sweden to become a major power in Europe. Today the mine is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region also carries a rich cultural heritage, and many of the beautiful palaces and castles are open to visitors. In central Sweden, you will also find Dalarna, the province from which many traditional Swedish artifacts originate.
Being in the center of power may seem thrilling, but in the world of politics, there are plenty of written and unwritten rules. The sooner you pick them up, the better off you will be. Politics can be a dirty game and some people are willing to risk everything to attain power. With eyes locked on the goal, it is easy to lose track of what means can really be justified. One day when looking in the mirror, you may find that the person staring back is a complete stranger.
Linköping is one of Sweden’s largest cities, located a couple of hours drive south from Stockholm. This is the scene of crime in Mons Kallentoft’s novels, with Superintendent Malin Fors as the lead character. In one of the novels, an overweight, naked man is found, on a freezing night, hanging from one of the branches of an oak tree. The investigation reveals that Bengt Andersson’s ending is nothing but the logical end to a tragic life. The case gets a breakthrough as Fors starts exploring the ancient Aesir faith, but the truth turns out to be hard to handle as upsetting aspects of today’s society are unveiled. Kallentoft grew up in a working class home in which there were few books and little habit of reading. Yet he has managed to become one of Sweden’s best-selling authors. Kallentoft is also one of many Swedish authors who use social media in their communication with readers. His “blog noir” is continuously updated with personal reflections and thoughts on society.
Mons Kallentoft's The Fifth Season (Den femte årstiden) is his fifth book about Malin Fors. Photo: Mia Carlsson
The locations where Håkan Nesser’s novels are set are often fictional. Yet the similarities to places where the author has lived are difficult to miss. In recent years, this implies stories set in New York and London. In the earlier novels, however, Nesser’s home town, Kumla, and its surroundings are featured. Kumla is home to Sweden’s largest prison. Despite this, it is a calm and sleepy place and the inhabitants are shaken to the bones when, in one of Nesser’s novels, a former elite sportsman is found murdered. This is one of many cases of Inspector Van Veeteren — a true European, who through his work comes across the gruesome consequences of what loneliness and hatred can nurture. Nesser’s production also includes a series on Inspector Gunnar Barbarotti and a number of stand-alones. The novels have been translated into 25 languages and sold some 10 million copies around the world. Nesser’s writing is praised for its literary qualities and also appreciated among people who generally shun crime fiction.
Håkan Nesser switched fictional focus from detective Van Veeteren to Inspector Gunnar Barbarotti in 2006. "The Lonely" (De ensamma) is his fourth Barbarotti novel. Photo: Caroline Andersson
Uppsala, located just north of Stockholm and west of the Roslagen archipelago, is dominated by one of Sweden’s largest and most prestigious universities and by successful high-tech companies. All of Kjell Eriksson’s ten crime novels featuring Inspector Ann Lindell are set here. This is where Tore, in one of the novels, struggles to make a new life for himself, far away from the drugs that used to dominate his existence. This is also where, in another of the novels, a young woman and her daughter are hit by a car when visiting a cemetery. Was it an accident or a crime? The author, who also works as a gardener, offers vivid and colorful descriptions of central Sweden and of modern Swedish society. Eriksson was awarded the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award for best debut novel and also the award for the best Swedish crime fiction novel. He has vowed to continue his exploration of Uppsala, even though the series on Ann Lindell has now been completed.
Kjell Eriksson's "Open Grave" (Öppen grav) is the tenth and so far last book about Ann Lindell. Photo: Lotta Thörnrot
Created by the Embassy of Sweden, New Delhi, India, in cooperation with VisitSweden, the Swedish Institute in Paris and other individual authors and publishing houses. Author presentations largely based on texts by Gerard Meudal.
The authors alone are responsible for the opinions expressed in this article.
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