Death in a Cold Climate

PBS had aired several Henning Mankell mysteries earlier this year, so I thought a display of Scandinavian crime fiction might do well. The sub-genre seemed to be reaching a critical mass. Aided by Barbara Fister's excellent list at Gustavus Adolphus College, I assembled about thirty titles from our holdings system-wide. Just nearly enough, I thought, for a two-week display. I put the display out before leaving for a week. When I returned last Monday, scarcely any remained!

What could I do to last out the week? I would have to cheat. I pressed Janwillem van de Wetering's Dutch Inspector Grijpstra mysteries into service. Maybe our readers wouldn't know they weren't Scandinavian. They were Northern European, at least. I looked for Russian crime fiction, only to find, to my surprise, that there is no such thing in English translation, apart from Boris Akunin's Tsarist-era confections. Crime fiction had not taken root in the former Soviet Union, the notion of crime in a people's paradise being disloyal. Gorky Park, for example, was written by Martin Cruz Smith, an American. By this afternoon, with almost no books left, I took the display down, three days early.

For the poster, I chose a snow-laden typeface for the title, a bleak "midnight sun" image, and a modern, sans-serif, "Scan-Haus" typeface for the subtitle, the idea being that novels set in cold climes might tempt our readers, weary of our hot and humid days in August.

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