Friday, July 2, 2010

Crime (Fiction) Goes Global

Americans have often used international travel to broaden their horizons and add excitement to their holiday getaways. But what can you do if you lack the money to visit such exotic locales as Rome, Tokyo, Instanbul or Nairobi?

Well, maybe you should just pick up a book. An international mystery novel, more specifically.

Thanks to the success of Stieg Larsson, author of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo", publishers are frantically searching the world over for mysteries that take place the world over. And since murder is murder, no matter what language you speak, American readers have a lot of good writers to discover.

My own reading habits outside the lower 48 tend to favor our neighbor to the north, Canada, and they have some excellent crime writers who deserve a wider audience.

Vicki Delany writes a fine mystery series set in a small town called Trafalgar, with more than its share of secrets and murder.

Rick Mofina moves from British Columbia to New York and even the Middle East with his mysteries and thrillers, each setting recreated with first rate authenticity.

Sandra Ruttan pens a gritty series that is not for the feint of heart based in Vancouver. Her wicked writing easily ranks with (or above) many American best-selling authors that I can think of (and I'm thinking James Patterson, Jeffrey Deaver, Stephen King...)

Who knew Canadians could take such delight in the criminal underworld?

It's not that international mysteries are unknown here in the states ("The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency", is one). But compared to overseas readers, the U.S. has been positively xenophobic.

That's about to change.

You can read more about this trend in publishing at the Wall Street Journal's book section. If you're not a subscriber, you can access the article (Fiction's Global Crime Wave) through a link on my blog:

Fiction's Global Crime Wave

Enjoy your next destination!

1 comment:

Nadine Doolittle said...

Wow! Wonderful post. As a Canadian mystery writer, I was very encouraged by the success of Larsson's books in the US and for good reason.

I attended Bloody Words in 2009, a Canadian mystery writers conference. At one of the last panel discussions of the conference, two Canadian agents told this large group of Canadian mystery writers to set their books in the US if they expected to sell. Interestingly enough, the one US agent did not agree.

After we recovered from the shock, we realized they were saying US publishers were leery of non-US settings believing US readers wouldn't buy. Hah! US readers proved them wrong. When I posed the question to readers on DL, the answer was unanimous: location wasn't an issue on to buy or not to buy. Mystery readers are looking for a good story. The setting is not an issue.

We might pick a "cosy" up over a "hard crime" but those are the preferences that divide a mystery reader--not location. The message just had to reach publishers and Larssen's books drove it home.

Thanks so much for the encouragement!

Nadine Doolittle
Quebec, Canada