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Although it’s still mid-August, September isn’t far off, and that means the beginning of the school year at BOLLI (Brandeis Osher Lifelong Learning Institute).

The coming semester will be the thirteenth time I am teaching a WHODUNIT? course on mystery novels.  It’s also a longed-for return to in-person teaching, as during the past several semesters at BOLLI, classes have been on Zoom.  Although I’m grateful for the technology that allowed my classes to continue during the pandemic, I’m looking forward to seeing students in “real life” rather than in two-inch squares on my computer.

This term I’ll be teaching MURDER IN SCANDINAVIA, a course that combines four mysteries I taught in 2018 and four new ones.  (The books I taught previously have an asterisk next to the titles in the list below.)  Using the term Scandinavia broadly, including two countries that once belonged to the countries of present-day Scandinavia but now have achieved independence, my students will be reading novels that take place in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

The list is:  THE HANGING GIRL* by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Denmark), SNOW ANGELS* by James Thompson (Finland), HOLY CEREMONY by Harri Nykänen (Finland), THE UNDESIRED* by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir (Iceland), THE DARKNESS by Ragnar Jónasson (Iceland), NORWEGIAN BY NIGHT by Dennis B. Miller (Norway), WHO WATCHETH by Helene Tursten (Sweden), and THE ICE BENEATH HER* by Camilla Grebe (Sweden).

As is not unusual in Scandinavian mysteries, these books are dark.  Many, although not all, of the protagonists are brooding and depressed, a combination perhaps of the cold weather and the horrific crimes they are called upon to solve.  But even in the darkest novels there is hope and resilience, both for the detectives as well as those impacted by the murders.

Some of these authors will be familiar to class members and to readers of this blog, and others will be unfamiliar; one of the best parts of teaching and writing is introducing readers to authors they haven’t read before.  And perhaps you will be introduced to a writer who is new to you.  If that’s the case, just think of all the wonderful mysteries by that particular author yet to be read.

As always, I invite you to read along with us, beginning with THE HANGING GIRL on September 18th.  My best wishes for the rest of the summer.




2 Responses to “”

  • Que bueno! I wish I could attend that class. Will look for the books.
    Gracias and have a wonderful semester!

  • Marilyn Brooks says:

    Thank you so much for your kind note. I’m looking forward to the semester and to reading your new mystery as it gets closer to the publication date. Abrazos, Marilyn

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