06 February 2009

The Preacher — new Camilla Läckberg out now in UK

My translation of the second in Camilla Läckberg's Fjällbacka series is out now in the UK, featuring dynamic duo Erica Falck and Patrik Hedström.

Camilla has invented a new genre in Sweden, a police procedural combined with a domestic procedural. She's probably the second-best-selling crime author there, right after Stieg Larsson. Please buy this one and the next two so HarperCollins will continue with the series. The books just keep getting better as she goes. In France her first book, The Ice Princess, just won the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière for Best International Crime Novel. And German crime fans flock to Fjällbacka each summer in ever greater numbers to view the scenes of the crimes.

I just finished translating the third, The Stone Cutter, and the ending shocked both of us and made us say "Wow!" I'd love to hear some comments about what you all think of this series.


  1. This was my little comment:

    Timely review, isn´t it ;)

  2. Mine is on it's way in the post probably delayed by snow.

  3. Thanks for the info - I'm definitely planning to read this one. And nice picture of you and Tiina - I had not noticed it before.

  4. My copy arrived in the post today, the postman must have walked down the middle of the road because the pavement [sidewalk] was treacherous. The one fault with The Ice Princess was that three of the male characters seemed a bit similar; very smooth but you would not want your daughter to risk going out with them.

  5. Maxine, I just learned how to add photos last night so I went crazy with it.

    Uriah, this one's religious as heck but more complex. There were so many characters whose names started with J that the editor had to change some. In the new one all the names started with A -- go figure. Why don't authors think of these things?

  6. Similar names is certainly a problem if you read books which do not take place in your own culture. I never mix up Danish characters, but even Swedish books may be more confusing (I am reading Kerstin Ekman right now).
    I also like the picture of you and Tiina :)

  7. I've read the first three Lackberg books (in German) and enjoyed them a lot. I think Erika and Patrik are really nice characters, which may not sound like much of a compliment, but it was a pleasant surprise to find books populated by people I more-or-less recognised. I wonder if this may have contributed to some of the criticisms of book one - it's hard to set up an ordinary relationship without verging into romance novel territory and risking the reputation of writing mostly for women, but I think it's worth perservering with the series. I definitely think the main crime stories get better, and the subplot with Erica's sister is excellent and deals with an issue seriously under-explored in fiction generally. (I agree that the ending of book three came as a major - and thought-provoking - shock.)

    For what it's worth re: male characters, Lackberg said in Edinburgh that Patrik is to a large extent based on her ex-husband, even down to his peculiar sandwich-eating habits.

  8. PS: I've just spotted your music list - if translated Weill's not quite your thing, may I reccomend the CD Lotte Lenya/Kurt Weill Berlin & American Theater Songs? It's a great collection of Lenya singing some of his songs with English lyrics in English, and some of the German ones in German.

    Er, and hello!

  9. Hi Lauren, welcome to my blog. What country are you in?

    I admit I'm partial to the version of Dreigroschenoper with Lotte Lenya & Wolfgang Neuss, who sings the best Morität of them all, and with a great Berlin accent too. I've had that album since 1963 and love the lyrics in German. "Und wenn dann der Kopf fällt, sage ich: Hoppla!" The English version of the Kipling-type song is tame compared to Brecht's original lyrics (and this is from memory, forgive me):

    Soldaten wohnen
    auf den Kanonen
    von Kap bis Cooch Behar
    wenn es mal regnete
    und es begegnete
    ihnen 'ne neue Rasse
    'ne braune oder blasse
    dann machen sie vielleicht daraus
    ihr Beefsteak Tartar!

    Another LP of it I bought when first taking German in high school in 1960. (My teacher Herr Taft wanted to write an opera based on "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich".) Back in the days when public schools were actually stimulating in California...

  10. Sorry about the delay - I've been cold-afflicted lately. Anyway, I'm writing from Edinburgh, though I'm actually Australian (and am finishing a PhD in German...) Oh, and I dislike the Fratellis as much as you seem to, even if they are just down the road!

    I've heard several versions of Dreigroschenoper, but not that one. Must try to track it down. I'd be interested to here the accents, as the only actual production I've ever seen was in Dusseldorf a few years ago, and everyone sounded disturbingly local. I'm not convinced any of that mob should speak Kölsch!

    The album I mentioned has some other interesting tunes as well. I'm rather fond of Lenya doing Surabaya Johnny. And at least her English songs retain a certain amount of menace. I do like Louis Armstrong, but Mack the Knife, compared to the original...

    I can't speak for Californian public schools, but I came across Kurt Weill (and also learnt Latin) in a NSW public school in the 1990s, so I wouldn't write off the younger generation yet. Although I have noticed that whenver I go to a crime fiction talk (or indeed a workshop on translation), I seem to be the youngest by several decades.

  11. I have finished 'The Preacher' and reviewed
    it on www.amazon.co.uk--excellent book-
    first-rate translation. Just started
    Karin Alvtegen --Shadow--where you use
    the name Mckinley Burnett. It is all
    very confusing --are you Steven ,Reg
    or McKinley??

  12. Dear Reg,
    The Preacher was excellent--first-rate
    translation -I have reviewed it on
    Now onto reading your translation
    of Karin Alvtegen --Shadow--where you
    use name McKinley Burnett. Why do you
    translate under 3 names??

  13. 4 names, actually. Reg has an American cousin, Thomas...

    Thanks for the nice review. I must admit I had a hard time following the plot while translating (at slow speed), and I'm glad some of the names were changed in English to make it clearer. Reading a book straight through afterward always helps!

  14. Why I translate under 3 names (4 actually): Because I want to! I've been muzzled so you'll have to figure it out for yourself.

  15. Is The Preacher coming out in the US? I read the Ice Princess and loved it. Amazon says it is not available to buy here and Amazon UK will not ship even 1 book to a US address. I don't understand this! Thanks for any help! Mag

  16. Hi Margery, I don't know if The Preacher is scheduled from Pegasus Press, who bought the US rights to The Ice Princess, which comes out next June. Check Amazon for updated info.

    I've never had any trouble ordering books from Amazon UK. What's that all about?

  17. Thank you Reg. I have been trying for at least 2 months to get The Preacher. I had ordered The Ice Princess through Amazon and they had it sent from an international dealer. When I tried to get TP the comment was it was not available and I signed up to receive it when it became available. Then I was told it was not and will not be available. I tried AUK and they will not send this particular book to the US even as I am only ordering 1 as they will not send more than 1 of the same book many times to the US(can get Larsson's sent but not Lackberg.)It is strange and bothersome. We all comment on your excellent translations!

  18. I have a couple of spare copies and could sell you one. Click on my profile and send me an email.