Books About Denmark and Danish Cosy Mysteries
At first, I was exhilarated with my idea of writing a Danish Cosy, thanks to the results of my research. My goodness! I was hitting a popular genre. My ability to follow the market had finally improved and I would become a millionaire author! I had found a niche that was populated, but not overwhelmingly so. Readers loved Cosies set in Denmark, but there weren’t so many that I’d never be found.
On closer inspection, I made three discoveries. One, not all books with the word “Danish” in the title have anything to do with Denmark. Two, Danish is the English name for a pastry. Three, as hard as it is to believe, I found one and only one Cosy Mystery set in Denmark, Death Comes to Strandvig by Diane Hansen, who is a Scottish author married to a Dane and has lived there forever.
A Danish Cozy Mystery
When I’d recovered from the loss of royalties showering me rich, I started reading her mystery and had great fun with it. If you want to know more about Denmark, please read Diane’s book, which is a bit different from other Cosies I’ve read. It will immerse you, quite literally, in the country’s culture.
There’s only one book in the series at the moment, but when called back to her duty by this hungry Cosy reader, she promised she’d publish more. Also, Diane runs a successful YouTube channel: very useful (and fun) if you want to learn more about Danish food and traditions. Just search for Diane in Denmark.
A Danish Thriller
I have a feeling the Danes love their Nordic Noirs better than Cosies (or maybe they don’t know what they’re missing). There are plenty in the Noir genre by famous Scandinavian authors (Viveca Sten, Camilla Läckberg, Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell to name a few). By Danish authors, there’s The Boy in the Suitcase, the first book in the Nina Borg series by Agnete Friis and Lene Kaaberbøl.
Compelling writing with a dedicated and deeply human main character, it covers gritty subjects such as violence against women, child trafficking, enslaved refugees – it’s the type of book I feel I need to read, but I’ll take months to recover. This might not be the case for you, of course; I’m not the bravest of women, I know.
Travel books about Denmark
My fascination for travel books is skewed towards a peculiar niche: those about people who move, even for as short a time as a year, to a new place to experience a totally different culture from theirs. In no other book can you read (and enjoy) the culture clashes; the things that make one place so different from another.
When you read books written by a local, you’re immersed in their normality, their ordinary life. But foreigners moving in are like alarm bells, highlighting every single idiosyncrasy that a local simply might not be aware of.
I plunged into the pages of The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell and enjoyed all her research and thoughts, even her moments of despair.
From a hectic life in London, on a cold January day, she, her husband and dog landed in an unfamiliar and almost deserted village in Jutland. Not that the inhabitants had disappeared, there hadn’t been an alien invasion; they were simply hygging inside the comfort of their homes for the next two months, leaving the poor just-landed foreigners alone.
Still, Helen maintains Denmark is the happiest land on the planet, and she goes on to investigate the hundreds of shades Danish happiness can take.
Two Books set in the Island of Aero
We the Drowned by Carsten Jensen
We the Drowned is the only book I’ve found – although I merely checked the ones translated into English – set on the Island of Aero. Well, that’s not entirely true as the book isn’t confined to the island. On the contrary, it spans the stories of generations of islanders exploring oceans and seas around the world, as it describes the lives of Marstal sailors.
Make sure to read it before you visit Aero, then you’ll have the same fun as Dora, one of the two sexagenarian ladies who travel Europe in an ancient yolk-yellow Fiat 500 with their stubbornly lovable Basset Hound Leon in my Cosy Homeswappers series, matching real places and things with those you’ve read about in the book.
An Aero Island Christmas Mystery
And last but not least, there finally is my Cosy Mystery set on the very island of Aero for you to enjoy.
In the depths of the Nordic winter, the beautiful Island of Aero is steeped in pre-Christmas cheer and Danish hygge. But in one dark and forbidding attic, a gruesome secret waits to be discovered.
Two Italian sexagenarians and a stubborn, loveable Basset Hound are travelling across the sea to the historic town of Ærøskøbing. The ever-positive Dora is clasping her hands in delight at the prospect of their latest homeswap; her more feisty friend Etta is picking a fight with an equally belligerent Danish woman; and Leon? Well, Leon is saving a small child from certain death. Just another day in the life of a brave and noble dog.
Little do the three travellers know just how significant the people they meet during the ferry crossing are going to become over the next couple of weeks. As Aero rises before them from the Baltic Sea, an unsolved murder, a mythical treasure, an unrequited love and a bitter family feud await them. Can the analytical Etta, empathetic Dora and sharp-nosed Leon finally lay the dead to rest and lead the living to the happiest of Christmases? And who is destined to receive the most precious gift of all?
◆◆◆ Wrap up warm, pack your cases and hop into the backseat. It’s time to join Etta, Dora and Leon in their ancient yellow Fiat for another delightfully mysterious adventure, this time with a huge dollop of festive fun. ◆◆◆
If you want to know more about the Island of Aero (and my visit there), read my blogpost 18 Things To Do on the Island of Aero