Politiken: The Danish King of Crime has sold 2 mio copies

Jussi Adler-Olsen sells books like no other Danish author

The Danish newspaper, Politiken, reports that the international rights for the Danish crime writer, Jussi Adler-Olsen’ series about Afdeling Q (Department Q) have been sold to 24 countries. Presently, Adler-Olsen’s books are only available in three countries – in Germany, Holland and Norway. From the British publisher, the Nordic Noir Crime Book Club has learned that the series will be published in the UK sometime in May 2011.

Politiken reports that Adler-Olsen is very popular in Germany where his crime novels sell up to 8000 copies a day – his novels have been in the top three on Der Spiegel’s bestseller list for 60 weeks. In Denmark the publisher Politikens Forlag reports that Adler-Olsen has sold 1 mio copies, which includes the four novels in the Department Q series and three other crime novels.

We shall be looking forward to seeing a bestselling Danish crime writer published in the UK again. Readers of Scandinavian crime may know of Leif Davidsen’s international thrillers, maybe even Michael Larsen, but certainly Peter Hoeg’s Miss Smilla’s Sense of Snow, but in comparison to Swedish and Norwegian crime writers, the Danish receive very litte attention and few are being translated. I have heard that Hammer & Hammer’s first novel has been bought by a UK publisher, but how about Sara Blaedel ?

Who do you think deserves to be translated and why? Do you think Danish crime writers are different than their Scandinavian brothers and sisters?



Filed under Danish crime fiction, Scandinavian crime fiction

7 responses to “Politiken: The Danish King of Crime has sold 2 mio copies

  1. Pingback: Leopards and Seconds and Danes, Oh My! « Scandinavian Crime Fiction

  2. Some good news: one of my favourites, Elsebeth Egholm, is on her way to Australia with her Dicte Svendsen series (protag = a female journalist), and two female writers, Kaaberbøl and Friis should be on the way in the US with their great debut, The Suitcase Boy.

    But your post explains why I buy ten times as many English as Danish books 😦

  3. Thanks for this update. I’ve enjoyed two novels by Lief Davidsen (The Serbian Dane and The Woman from Bratislava) and The Exception by Jungersen (as well as Miss Smilla many years ago of course!). I read The Library of Shadows (Bierkegaard) but did not like it at all, though it started well, not least because of its supernatural elements. I’d certainly be interested in reading more translated Danish crime fiction, so thanks for this update.
    Euro Crime lists Danish authors in translation with links to its reviews and the authors’ websites http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/books/books_Denmark.html , but as you point out, there are not many compared with Sweden and Norway – perhaps more on a par with Iceland and Finland?
    Best wishes
    (One of Euro Crime’s reviewers)

  4. jakobstougaard

    Hi Phlip,
    excellent report from a challenging encounter with both the lack of Danish fiction in translation and the inflated book prices in Denmark – visiting Paludan Book Cafe with a newly purchased Danish Novel (£20) and an almost as expensive small cup of capuccino (£5) is not something you can do very often. I usually retire to the French Book Cafe in the same street – it has French prices and French quality coffee – and the owners are the best.

    I am glad you have found Ramsland in translation – his second novel Sumo Brothers should be in translation soon – his was really a great new Danish international novel. I am sure you would also enjoy Christian Jungersen, The Exception (Undtagelsen), which has a crime plot, is set in Copenhagen but with a global narrative – it is, however, quite long as far as I remember (seems most Danish books in translation are, though that doesn’t account for the high prices).

    Soon to be published in the UK is also the Africa trilogy from the late Jacob Ejersbo – another global Danish novel. Of crime fiction, I have just found out that Sara Blaedel will be published in the US in August 2011 with the novel Call me Princess.

    Of course there should always be a good stock of Karen Blixen tales in English (she wrote in English). They are both thrilling, entertaining and philosophical – probably no surprise that she is Peter Høeg’s great inspiration apart from Joseph Conrad.

    If possible you should check out another Danish classic, Steen Steensen Blicher. His story, The Pastor of Vejlby, can top any well wrought Scandinavian crime thriller today – and his stories are from the Dansih early 19th century Wild West!

    • I did drop by the French cafe and it looked very welcoming (but no wifi!) – and it seemed that a lot more Danish novels had been translated in to French than to English.

      Thanks for all the tips. I was aware of The Exception (and, of course of Karen Blixen), and will definitely try to track down The Pastor of Vejlby.

    • PS Someone has just visited my To Be Read blog after searching Google.DK for Morten Ramsland… Astonishingly my post is fifth in the search ranking!

  5. Thanks for the Alder-Olsen news – I had just posted on the paucity of English translations of Danish fiction – http://publicsphere.typepad.com/toberead/2011/01/something-is-rotten-in-the-state-of-danish-translations.html.

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