My first adventure living abroad was in Malmö, a city at the southern tip of Sweden. It was my first experience of Scandinavian life and (as always) I loved immersing myself in the local culture. Part of this involved exploring the local literature of my new home. This list of books set in Sweden is a collection of my finds, ranging from classic tales through to contemporary fiction.
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Books Set in Sweden: Introduction
The most well-known genre of books set in Sweden is easily nordic noir (or Scandinavian crime fiction). These novels hailing from the nordic region are usually centered around detective stories, and often contain a degree of social criticism.
The pioneers of this genre are Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö who wrote the Martin Beck police series (10 novels, starting with Roseanna). Author Henning Mankell is often called the ‘father of nordic noir’ thanks to his Kurt Wallander novels. This is a bestselling series of 10 novels about a detective (starting with Faceless Killers). Some other notable works include the Fjällbacka series by Camilla Läckberg (starting with The Ice Princess) and Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy (a worldwide bestseller, turned into a series of films).
More recent bestsellers include the works of Jonas Jonasson (with The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared ), Jonas Hassen Khemiri (with Everything I Don’t Remember) and Fredrik Backman (with titles such as A Man Called Ove, Britt-Marie Was Here and Beartown).
Books Set in Sweden: Shortlist
If you’re short on time, these are my personal picks for books set in Sweden:
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
- Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
- Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
- The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
- Beartown by Fredrik Backman
- Everything I Don’t Remember by Jonas Hassen Khemiri
- Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
- Wilful Disregard by Lena Andersson
- The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Books Set In Sweden
1. The Red Room by August Strindberg, 1879
A satire of the rapidly changing society of the 1870s, The Red Room was Strindberg’s first novel and marked his literary breakthrough. It contains some of the great set-piece scenes in Swedish literature, a gallery of unforgettable caricatures in the spirit of Dickens, humor, pathos, and satirical targets as apt now as they were then. The Red Room is often called Sweden’s first modern novel, and it remains modern almost a century and a half later.
2. The People of Hemsö by August Strindberg, 1887
A feat of straightforward folksy storytelling, The People of Hemso is set on an island in Strindberg’s beloved Stockholm archipelago. Written during a difficult period in exile from Sweden, the novel paradoxically has a strong sense of place. Mrs. Flod, a widow of some means, hires Carlsson to run the farm on the island. As a newcomer and a landlubber among sailors and fishermen, Carlsson is implicitly distrusted by the locals as they try to discern whether Carlsson is a slippery confidence trickster preying on the lonely widow, or an honest, hard-working man revitalizing the neglected farm.
3. Gösta Berling’s Saga by Selma Lagerlöf, 1891
The first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for literature, Lagerlöf assured her place in Swedish letters with this 1891 novel. The eponymous hero, a country pastor whose appetite for alcohol and indiscretions ends his career, falls in with a dozen vagrant Swedish cavaliers and enters into a power struggle with the richest woman in the province.
4. Doctor Glas by Hjalmar Söderberg, 1905
Stark, brooding, and enormously controversial when first published in 1905, this astonishing novel juxtaposes impressions of fin-de-siècle Stockholm against the psychological landscape of a man besieged by obsession. Lonely and introspective, Doctor Glas has long felt an instinctive hostility toward the odious local minister. So when the minister’s beautiful wife complains of her husband’s oppressive sexual attentions, Doctor Glas finds himself contemplating murder.
5. The Serious Game by Hjalmar Söderberg, 1912
Sweden at the turn of the previous century. Arvid, an ambitious and well-educated young man, meets Lydia, the daughter of a landscape painter, during an idyllic summer vacation and falls in love. Lydia, however, has other suitors, and Astrid is frightened of being tied down by his emotions. Trapped inside loveless marriages of convenience, they struggle in later years to rekindle the promise of their romance with bitter and tragic results.
6. Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Långstrump #1) by Astrid Lindgren, 1945
Tommy and his sister Annika have a new neighbor, and her name is Pippi Longstocking. She has crazy red pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, a horse that lives on her porch, and a flair for the outrageous that seems to lead to one adventure after another. Note: this one is a classic childrens book.
7. The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg, 1948
Considered one of Sweden’s greatest 20th-century writers, Vilhelm Moberg created Karl Oskar and Kristina Nilsson to portray the joys and tragedies of daily life for early Swedish pioneers in America. His consistently faithful depiction of these humble people’s lives is a major strength of the Emigrant Novels. Note: this series is about Swedish emigrants living in America.
8. City of My Dreams (Stadserien aka City Novels #1) by Per Anders Fogelström, 1960
A summer evening in 1860 a young man named Henning walks into the city he has dreamed of. Times are changing, industries are forming and new possibilities are opening up. The narrative follows a group of working-class people on Södermalm in Stockholm between 1860 and 1880. This is the first book in Fogelstrom’s five-volume Stockholm Series.
9. The Prize by Irving Wallace, 1962
Novelist Andrew Craig has not been sober in a very long time. After losing his wife in an auto accident he believes to have been his own fault, he turned to the bottle, and to his sister-in-law, Leah, who acts as his caretaker and live-in nurse. Then, when he is awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for his novel, “The Perfect State,” a historical jab at communism, he heads for Stockholm, hoping to find a reason to live, and to write.
10. Roseanna (Martin Beck Police Mystery #1) by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, 1965
The masterful first novel in the Martin Beck series of mysteries by the internationally renowned crime writing duo Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, finds Beck hunting for the murderer of a lonely traveler. On a July afternoon, a young woman’s body is dredged from Sweden’s beautiful Lake Vattern. With no clues Beck begins an investigation not only to uncover a murderer but also to discover who the victim was. Three months later, all Beck knows is that her name was Roseanna and that she could have been strangled by any one of eighty-five people on a cruise.
11. Simon and the Oaks by Marianne Fredriksson, 1985
Simon is an ordinary boy growing up in Sweden; at least until World War II is declared; until he befriends the traumatised Jewish boy Isak; and until he learns that he is adopted. With his innocence forever lost, Simon must embark on a quest for self-hood that will be his salvation – or ruin.
12. Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander #1) by Henning Mankell, 1991
It was a senselessly violent crime: on a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse an elderly farmer is bludgeoned to death, and his wife is left to die with a noose around her neck. And as if this didn’t present enough problems for the Ystad police Inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman’s last word is foreign, leaving the police the one tangible clue they have – and in the process, the match that could inflame Sweden’s already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments.
13. Mind’s Eye (Inspector Van Veeteren #1) by Håkan Nesser, 1993
The swift conviction left Van Veeteren uneasy: Janek Mitter woke one morning with a brutal hangover and his wife dead in the bathtub. With only the flimsiest defense, he is found guilty and imprisoned in a mental institution. But when Mitter is murdered in his bed, Van Veeteren regrets not following his gut and launches an investigation into the two murders. As the chief inspector delves deeper, the twisted root of these violent murders will shock even him.
14. Hanna’s Daughters by Marianne Fredriksson, 1994
Anna has returned from visiting her mother. Restless and unable to sleep, she wanders through her parents’ house, revisiting the scenes of her childhood. In a cupboard drawer, folded and pushed away from sight, she finds a sepia photograph of her grandmother, Hanna, whom she remembers as old and forbidding, a silent stranger enveloped in a huge pleated black dress. Now, looking at the features Anna recognises as her own, she realises she is looking at a different woman from the one of her memory. Set against the majestic isolation of the Scandinavian lakes and mountains, this is more than a story of three Swedish women.
15. April Witch by Majgull Axelsson, 1997
April Witch created a furor upon its original publication in Sweden. Addressing themes of mother-daughter relationships, competition between women, and the failures of Sweden’s postwar welfare state, it is a thrillingly written and fascinating story. Desiree is an April Witch, clairvoyant and omniscient, traveling through time and space into the world denied her.
16. Death Angels (Inspector Winter #1) by Åke Edwardson, 1997
Erik Winter joins forces with his British counterparts after a series of brutal murders of young men in London and his own city of Gothenburg. The killer, dubbed Hitchcock, appears to have filmed the butchery, as evidenced by traces of a tripod stand in the victims’ blood.
17. Exposed (Annika Bengtzon #1) by Liza Marklund, 1999
Trainee journalist Annika Bengtzon has secured a summer placement at Sweden’s biggest tabloid newspaper. She’s desperate for this to be her big break, although manning the tip-off phoneline isn’t quite what she had in mind. Until a caller tells her that the naked body of a young woman has been found in a nearby cemetery.
18. Popular Music from Vittula by Mikael Niemi, 2000
Popular Music from Vittula tells the fantastical story of a young boy’s unordinary existence, peopled by a visiting African priest, a witch in the heart of the forest, cousins from Missouri, an old Nazi, a beautiful girl with a black Volvo, silent men and tough women, a champion-bicyclist music teacher with a thumb in the middle of his hand – and, not least, on a shiny vinyl disk, the Beatles.
19. The Return of the Dancing Master by Henning Mankell, 2000
When retired policeman Herbert Molin is found brutally slaughtered on his remote farm in the northern forests of Sweden, police find strange tracks in the snow — as if someone had been practicing the tango. Stefan Lindman, a young police officer recently diagnosed with mouth cancer, decides to investigate the murder of his former colleague, but is soon enmeshed in a mystifying case with no witnesses and no apparent motives.
20. Missing by Karin Alvtegen, 2000
Born into a life of privilege, Sybilla has spent many years opting instead to live on the streets of Stockholm, cadging a bed, a bath, a meal, where she can. Her favorite technique – one she permits herself only as a special treat – plays out at the Grand Hotel, where with luck she can usually charm a lonely visiting businessman into buying her dinner and a room for the night. But then she picks the wrong businessman. Note: Karin Alvtegen is the great-niece of author Astrid Lundgren.
21. Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End (Fall of the Welfare State #1) by Leif G.W. Persson, 2002
A young man falls to his death from a window in a student dorm in Stockholm, his loose shoe striking and killing the little dog being taken for his evening walk by an old man. It seems to be a mundane suicide – at least that’s what the police choose to think. But the young man is American, not Swedish, and there are a couple of odd things about his room when they search it.
22. Sun Storm (Rebecka Martinsson #1) by Åsa Larsson, 2003
Rebecka Martinsson is heading home to Kiruna, the town she’d left in disgrace years before. A Stockholm attorney, Rebecka has a good reason to return: her friend Sanna, whose brother has been horrifically murdered in the revivalist church his charisma helped create. Beautiful and fragile, Sanna needs someone like Rebecka to remove the shadow of guilt that is engulfing her, to forestall an ambitious prosecutor and a dogged policewoman.
23. The Ice Princess (Fjällbacka #1) by Camilla Läckberg, 2004
Returning to her hometown of Fjallbacka after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice-cold bath, it seems that she has taken her own life.
24. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, 2004
It is autumn 1981 when the inconceivable comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last—revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.
25. Depths by Henning Mankell, 2004
In 1914 Lars Tobiasson-Svartman is covertly measuring the depths of Swedish coastal waters. A man of discipline and obsessed with exactitude, he is more comfortable on naval vessels than he is in his loveless marriage back in Stockholm. On one of his missions, Lars discovers a feral but beautiful woman living alone on a remote island. Passion, suspicion, and violence are awakened in him and soon he is living a double life-lying to his wife and his superiors and submerging himself in a pool of deception that has devastating consequences.
26. Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson, 2005
With extraordinary emotional power, Linda Olsson’s stunningly well-crafted debut novel recounts the unusual and unexpected friendship that develops between two women. Veronika, a young writer from New Zealand, rents a house in a small Swedish village as she tries to come to terms with a recent tragedy while also finishing a novel. Her arrival is silently observed by Astrid, an older, reclusive neighbor who slowly becomes a presence in Veronika’s life, offering comfort in the form of companionship and lovingly prepared home-cooked meals.
27. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1) by Stieg Larsson, 2005
Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.
28. Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist, 2005
Something very peculiar is happening in Stockholm. There’s a heatwave on and people cannot turn their lights out or switch their appliances off. Then the terrible news breaks. In the city morgue, the dead are waking up.
29. Easy Money (The Stockholm Noir Trilogy #1) by Jens Lapidus, 2006
A dark, urban tale of drugs, violence, greed, ambition and the twisted justice of Stockholm’s underworld. Jorge is the drug-dealing Latino who refuses to stay behind bars. Mrado is the pill-popping Yugoslav hitman who cracks people’s fingers with one hand and strokes his daughter’s cheek with the other. JW is the wannabe wide-boy who works the night shift to fund his partying with his wealthy friends. Jorge, Mrado and JW have two things in common: a love of money and a belief that the city’s coke scene is the way to get it.
30. The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist, 2006
One day in early spring, Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. She is promised a nicely furnished apartment inside the Unit, where she will make new friends, enjoy the state of the art recreation facilities, and live the few remaining days of her life in comfort with people who are just like her. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over sixty – single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries – are sequestered for their final few years; they are considered outsiders.
31. The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell, 2007
In a sleepy hamlet in north Sweden, the local police make a chilling discovery; nineteen people have been brutally slaughtered. It is a crime unprecedented in Sweden’s history and the police are under incredible pressure to solve the killings. When Judge Birgitta Roslin reads about the massacre, she realises that she has a family connection to one of the couples involved and decides to investigate. When the police make a hasty arrest it is left to her to investigate the source of a nineteenth century diary and red silk ribbon found near the crime scene.
32. Midwinter Blood (Malin Fors #1) by Mons Kallentoft, 2007
The snow covered all the tracks, as the killer knew it would. But it couldn’t hide the victim, the man who now hung from a lonely tree on a frozen plain. Malin Fors is first on the scene. A 31-year-old single mother, Malin is the most talented and ambitious detective on the Linkoping police force, but also the most unpredictable.
33. Still Waters (Sandhamn #1) by Viveca Sten, 2008
On a hot July morning on Sweden’s idyllic vacation island of Sandhamn, a man takes his dog for a walk and makes a gruesome discovery: a body, tangled in fishing net, has washed ashore. Police detective Thomas Andreasson is the first to arrive on the scene. Before long, he has identified the deceased as Krister Berggren, a bachelor from the mainland who has been missing for months.
34. The Gingerbread House (Hammarby #1) by Carin Gerhardsen, 2008
Ingrid Olsson returns home from a Stockholm hospital to discover a man in her kitchen. She’s never seen the intruder before. But he’s no threat – he’s dead. Criminal Investigator Conny Sjöberg takes the call, abandoning his wife Åsa and their five children for the night. His team identify the body as that of a middle-aged family man. But why was he there? And who bludgeoned him to death?
35. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (The Hundred-Year-Old Man #1) by Jonas Jonasson, 2009
After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he’s still in good health. A big celebration is in the works for his 100th birthday, but Allan really isn’t interested (and he’d like a bit more control over his alcohol consumption), so he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey. Note: this novel is set all over the world.
36. Unwanted (Fredrika Bergman & Alex Recht #1) by Kristina Ohlsson, 2009
In the middle of a rainy Swedish summer, a little girl is abducted from a crowded train. Despite hundreds of potential witnesses, no one noticed when the girl was taken. Her distraught mother was left behind at the previous station in what seemed to be a coincidence. The train crew was alerted and kept a watchful eye on the sleeping child. But when the train pulled into Stockholm Central Station, the little girl had vanished.
37. The Hypnotist (Joona Linna #1) by Lars Kepler, 2009
In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness – the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he’s suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. Note: Lars Kepler is a pseudonym for couple Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril.
38. Meet Me in Malmö (Inspector Anita Sundstrom #1) by Torquil MacLeod, 2010
A British journalist is invited to Malmö to interview an old university friend who is now one of Sweden’s leading film directors. When he discovers the director’s glamorous film star wife dead in her apartment, the Skåne County Police are called in to solve the high-profile case. Among the investigating team is Inspector Anita Sundström, who soon finds the list of suspects growing.
39. The Crow Girl (Victoria Bergmans Svaghet #1-3) by Erik Axl Sund, 2010
It starts with just one body – the hands bound, the skin covered in marks. Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg is determined to find out who is responsible, despite opposition from her superiors. When two more bodies are found, it becomes clear that she is hunting a serial killer. With her career on the line, she turns to psychotherapist Sofia Zetterlund. Together, they uncover a chain of shocking events that began decades ago – but will it lead them to the murderer before someone else dies?
40. Trade Winds (Kinross Saga #1) by Christina Courtenay, 2010
It’s 1732 in Gothenburg, Sweden, and strong-willed Jess van Sandt knows only too well that it’s a man’s world. She believes she’s being swindled out of her inheritance by her stepfather – and she’s determined to stop it. When help appears in the unlikely form of handsome Scotsman Killian Kinross, himself disinherited by his grandfather, Jess finds herself both intrigued and infuriated by him.
41. The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann, 2012
Life is close to perfect for Emil Larsson, a self-satisfied bureaucrat in the Office of Customs and Excise in 1791 Stockholm. He is a true man of the Town – a drinker, card player, and contented bachelor – until one evening when Mrs. Sofia Sparrow, a fortune-teller and proprietor of an exclusive gaming parlor, shares with him a vision she has had: a golden path that will lead him to love and connection. She lays an Octavo for him, a spread of eight cards that augur the eight individuals who can help him realize this vision – if he can find them.
42. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, 2012
Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
43. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules (Pensionärsligan #1) by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, 2012
79-year-old Martha Anderson dreams of escaping her care home and robbing a bank. She has no intention of spending the rest of her days in an armchair and is determined to fund her way to a much more exciting life-style. Along with her four oldest friends – otherwise known as the League of Pensioners – Martha decides to rebel against all of the rules imposed upon them. Together, they cause an uproar with their antics: protesting against early bedtimes and plastic meals.
44. Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson, 2012
It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations.
45. Wilful Disregard (Ester Nilsson #1) by Lena Andersson, 2013
Ester Nilsson is a sensible person in a sensible relationship. Until the day she is asked to give a lecture on famous artist Hugo Rask. The man himself sits in the audience, spellbound, and, when the two meet afterwards, he has the same effect on her. From now on Ester’s existence is intrinsically linked to this conversation, and the chain of events that unravels will change Ester’s life.
46. The Swimmer (Klara Walldéen #1) by Joakim Zander, 2013
Klara Walldeen, orphaned as a child and brought up by her grandparents on a remote Swedish archipelago, is now a political aide in Brussels. And she has just seen something she shouldn’t: something people will kill to keep hidden. On the other side of the world, an old spy hides from his past. Once, he was a man of action: so dedicated to the cause that he abandoned his baby daughter to keep his cover. Now the only thing he lives for is swimming in the local pool.
47. The Room by Jonas Karlsson, 2014
Bjorn is a compulsive, meticulous bureaucrat who discovers a secret room at the government office where he works – a secret room that no one else in his office will acknowledge. When Bjorn is in his room, what his co-workers see is him standing by the wall and staring off into space looking dazed, relaxed, and decidedly creepy. Bjorn’s bizarre behavior eventually leads his co-workers to try and have him fired, but Bjorn will turn the tables on them with help from his secret room.
48. All In (Only One Night #1) by Simona Ahrnstedt, 2014
In the cutthroat world of Sweden’s financial elite, no one knows that better than corporate raider David Hammar. Ruthless. Notorious. Unstoppable. He’s out to hijack the ultimate prize, Investum. After years of planning, all the players are in place; he needs just one member of the aristocratic owning family on his side – Natalia De la Grip. Elegant, brilliant, driven to succeed in a man’s world, Natalia is curious about David’s unexpected invitation to lunch. Everyone knows that he is rich, dangerous, unethical; she soon discovers he is also deeply scarred.
49. The Farm by Tom Rob Smith, 2014
Until the moment he received a frantic call from his father, Daniel believed his parents were headed into a peaceful, well-deserved retirement. They had sold their home and business in London, and said “farewell to England” with a cheerful party where all their friends had gathered to wish them well on their great adventure: setting off to begin life anew on a remote, bucolic farm in rural Sweden.
50. Wolf Winter (Svartåsen #1) by Cecilia Ekbäck, 2014
Swedish Lapland, 1717. Maija, her husband Paavo and her daughters Frederika and Dorotea arrive from their native Finland, hoping to forget the traumas of their past and put down new roots in this harsh but beautiful land. Above them looms Blackåsen, a mountain whose foreboding presence looms over the valley and whose dark history seems to haunt the lives of those who live in its shadow.
51. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman, 2014
Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention. But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes.
52. Everything I Don’t Remember by Jonas Hassen Khemiri, 2015
One of Sweden’s most celebrated young writers and activists spins an exhilarating, innovative, and gripping murder mystery. A young man named Samuel dies in a horrible car crash. Was it an accident or was it suicide? To answer that question, an unnamed writer with an agenda of his own sets out to map Samuel’s last day alive. Through conversations with friends, relatives, and neighbors, a portrait of Samuel emerges: the loving grandchild, the reluctant bureaucrat, the loyal friend, the contrived poseur.
53. The Ice Beneath Her (Flickorna Och Mörkret #1) by Camilla Grebe, 2015
Winter’s chill has descended on Stockholm as police arrive at the scene of a shocking murder. An unidentified woman lies beheaded in a posh suburban home – a brutal crime made all the more disturbing by its uncanny resemblance to an unsolved killing ten years earlier. But this time there’s a suspect: the charismatic and controversial chain-store CEO Jesper Orre, who owns the home but is nowhere to be found.
54. Autumn (Årstidsencyklopedien #1) by Karl Ove Knausgård, 2015
Autumn begins with a letter Karl Ove Knausgaard writes to his unborn daughter, showing her what to expect of the world. He writes one short piece per day, describing the material and natural world with the precision and mesmerising intensity that have become his trademark. He describes with acute sensitivity daily life with his wife and children in rural Sweden, drawing upon memories of his own childhood to give an inimitably tender perspective on the precious and unique bond between parent and child. The sun, wasps, jellyfish, eyes, lice – the stuff of everyday life is the fodder for his art.
55. Beartown (Björnstad #1) by Fredrik Backman, 2016
People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
56. Block 46 (Emily Roy & Alexis Castells #1) by Johana Gustawsson, 2016
In Falkenberg, Sweden, the mutilated body of talented young jewelry designer Linnea Blix is found in a snow-swept marina. In Hampstead Heath, London, the body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?
57. Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito, 2016
A mass shooting has taken place at a prep school in Stockholm’s wealthiest suburb. Maja Norberg is eighteen years old and on trial for her involvement in the massacre where her boyfriend and best friend were killed. When the novel opens, Maja has spent nine excruciating months in jail awaiting trial. Now the time has come for her to enter the courtroom. But how did Maja, the good girl next door who was popular and excelled at school, become the most hated teenager in the country? What did Maja do? Or is it what she didn’t do that brought her here?
58. What We Owe by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde, 2017
Nahid has six months left to live. Or so the doctors say. At 50, she is no stranger to loss. But now, as she stands on the precipice of her own death – just as she has learned that her daughter, Aram, is pregnant with her first child – Nahid is filled with both new fury and long-dormant rage. Her life back home in Iran, and living as a refugee in Sweden, has been about survival at any cost. How to actually live, she doesn’t know; she has never had the ability or opportunity to learn.
59. Dark Pines (Tuva Moodyson Mystery #1) by Will Dean, 2018
An isolated Swedish town. A deaf reporter terrified of nature. A dense spruce forest overdue for harvest. A pair of eyeless hunters found murdered in the woods. It’s week one of the Swedish elk hunt and the sound of gunfire is everywhere. When Tuva Moodyson investigates the story that could make her career she stumbles on a web of secrets that knit Gavrik town together. Are the latest murders connected to the Medusa killings twenty years ago? Is someone following her?
60. The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg, 2019
Meet Doris, a 96-year-old woman living alone in her Stockholm apartment, who writes down the memories of her eventful life as she pages through her decades-old address book. She has few visitors, but her weekly Skype calls with Jenny – her American grandniece, and her only relative – give her great joy and remind her of her own youth. But the most profound moment of her life is still to come. Note: this is set in Stockholm, Paris and New York.
What do you think of these books set in Sweden?
How many books set in Sweden have you read? Know some other great books set in Sweden that should be added to this list? Are you planning a trip to Sweden soon? I’d love to hear more about your own travels and tips for books set in Sweden in the comments below!
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