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Nordic Noir: Celebrate Easter Like a Scandinavian

© Photo : PixabayLofoten Islands, Arctic Circle
Lofoten Islands, Arctic Circle - Sputnik International
Lying in bed and reading thrilling detective stories is a natural part of Norwegian Easter vacations. The notion "påskekrim" ("Easter thrillers") is almost a hundred years old and is a national pastime. Each year, tons of books and crime series are churned out around Easter.

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Across Scandinavia, the sales of detective novels usually peak around Easter. These days, Nordics are hoarding paperbacks and downloading e-books in preparation for the Easter weekend. Publishers specifically try to adjust the publishing dates of literary novelties to around Easter vacation. Crime fiction goes particularly well with the Nordic cold and darkness.

"You'd want to have along a detective novel at your cottage at Easter. It's getting dark, you are alone and things are getting creepy. So it's extra scary to sit and read a detective novel," Norwegian bookseller Martin Antonsen told Finnish national broadcaster Yle.

The trademark Norwegian notion of "påskekrim" (and the Norwegians' penchant for detective stories as such) dates back to a Palm Sunday weekend in 1923, when the novel "Bergen Train Looted in the Night" by Nordahl Grieg and Nils Lie appeared. It was heavily promoted by Aftenposten and other Norwegian periodicals, which prompted many readers into thinking the robbery had occurred in reality, because the ad looked like a news piece. Subsequently, the newspapers were flooded by phone calls from readers who were worried about their friends and relatives who were on the train. The hoax campaign raised Norwegians' Easter expectations and gave rise to the phenomenon of påskekrim. Since then, it became an integral part of the Norwegian Easter traditions.

In recent decades, Scandinavia has emerged as one of the world's foremost exporters of crime fiction. In Nordic countries, a special trend of crime fiction, commonly dubbed "Nordic noir" is flourishing, with best-selling authors like Jo Nesbø, Stieg Larsson, Jens Lapidus, Henning Mankell, Liza Marklund and Håkan Nesser occupying shelves in bookstores across the world. Nordic noir is recognized for its realistic depiction and a trademark dark mood. This Easter, Nesbø's new opus Tørst ("Thirst") is expected to steal Norwegian Easter.

​"We have very many good crime fiction writers like Gunnar Staalesen, Unni Lindell and Karin Fossum, who will also be exported to other countries. Norwegian crime is highly thought of internationally," Antonsen told Yle.

However, påskekrim is not only limited to books and magazines. Around Easter, detective series, radio plays and old-fashioned whodunits are also broadcast for a wide audience.

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