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Catnip Detectives

February 19, 2009 | No Comments

Scandinavian thrillers are as irresistible as Abba; I boogie to the register, eager for the beat of chilly weather, Vodka chasers and a moody protagonist whom I can endow with the physique and steely blue eyes of Daniel Craig.  The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo was my latest indulgence and it came fully-loaded with ebullient reviews (“harrowingly beautiful,” “elegant and complex”), but despite a fascinating excursion into Norway’s creepy historical and present-day tolerance for fascism, I became tangled in its confusing plot, peopled by characters with too-similar names and multiple personalities, all managed by a selective and manipulative omniscient narrator. Now I love crumpled heroes as much as the next gal, but is every fictional detective from Oslo or Edinburgh, Michigan or Stockholm, a melancholic, alcoholic, newly-separated, slightly out-of-shape (but could still kick your ass) middle-aged guy, living in a sparse flat and driving a crappy car, who constantly thwarts his promotional opportunities by disobeying the orders of his straight-laced and/or bent superiors, while remaining catnip for gorgeous, wealthier women due to his ability to whip up a great meal from an old egg and soy while quoting lyrics from his considerable collection of 70s and 80s indie-vinyl? Where are all the solvent, well-behaved, fat, and happy detectives? Oops, I forgot, they sleuth in Florence, Madrid and Milan… It’s a latitudinal thing, proving once again the relationship between world-view and weather.

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