Some countries are more criminal than others?

At the start of the year I signed up for the expert level of the 2010 global reading challenge but a couple of months ago I switched to the new extreme level of the challenge. I now need to read 3 books in different countries of each of Africa, Asia Australasia, Europe, North America, South America plus 2 books set in Antarctica and a wild card entry which can be in any time or place that is new to me. My self-imposed additional rule is that all the titles have to be by new to me authors.

Reading the books is easy, but getting my hands on them is proving the challenging part of this deal. Some countries simply do not seem to have much in the way of fiction and even less in the way of crime fiction. So far I have read or have sitting on my TBR shelves books to cover Asia, Europe and North America (and have mercifully finished the Antarctica portion of the challenge) but I’m coming up short when it comes to Africa, South America and Australasia.

If you’ve any suggestions to fill my gaps feel free to leave a comment, I’ve listed below the books I’ve already read or have sitting on the TBR shelves.


1. A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley (Botswana)

2.??? Ideally something set in South Africa that isn’t by Deon Meyer (whose books I like but have read previously) but I have to admit to having a load of trouble tracking down many of the books discussed at the excellent Crime Beat South Africa (even Book Depository has failed me)

3. ???

Antarctica (completed)

4. Black Ice by Matt Dickinson

5. In Cold Pursuit by Sarah Andrews


6. The Prophet Murders by Mehmet Murat Somer (Turkey)

7. Mrs D’Silva’s Detective Instincts and the Shaitan of Calcutta by Glen Peters (India)

8. Villain by Shuichi Yoshida (Japan)  this is on the TBR shelves


9. Bold Blood by Lindy Kelly (New Zealand)

10. The Curse of the Golden Yo-Yo by Robin Bowles (Australia)

11. ??? I need to find something set in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands or the Indonesian islands of Lombok or Sulawesi (it’s a pity Bali is not considered part of Australasia as I’d quite like to read Inspector Singh Investigates a Bali Conspiracy but I’ll have to save that for another time).


12. The Rule Book by Rob Kitchin (Ireland)

13. A Death In Tuscany by Michele Guittari (Italy)

14. A Not So Perfect Crime by Teresa Solano (Spain) this is on the TBR shelves

North America

15. Borderline by Nevada Barr (Texas, USA)

16. The Uncomfortable Dead by Paco Ignacio Taibo II and Subcommandante Marcos (Mexico)

17. April Fool by William Deverell (Canada) this is on the TBR shelves

South America

18. Thursday Night Widows by Claudia Pineiro (Argentina)

19. Southwesterly Wind by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza (Brazil) this is on the TBR shelves

20. ???

Wildcard (any time or place that is new to me)

21. I’ve got plenty on the TBR shelves that will suit but will leave selection until I’ve finished the rest

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15 Responses to Some countries are more criminal than others?

  1. Kerrie says:

    You are making things hard for yourself Bernadette
    My mind is blank for suggestions though…


  2. GretchenH says:

    Africa: (Botswana) Screaming of the Innocents by Unity Dow. I hestitate to recommend it because it is probably the most disturbing book I’ve ever read.

    Papua New Guinea: Charlotte Jay- Beat Not the Bones. The book is set in Papua New Guinea but Charlotte Jay was an Australian. I believe she won the Edgar for this book the first year it was awarded.


  3. Thanks Gretchen – I have managed to procure a copy of Beat Not the Bones via Abe Books for only a couple of dollars. I have already read a book set in Botswana for this challenge but I’ve put Screaming of the Innocents on my list to look out for as it does sound engrossing, though disturbing as you say.


  4. Bernadette – I am so impressed with what you have accomplished with this reading challenge! Have you read any books by Juan de Recacoecha? His American Visa would count nicely for South America. Craig at Crime Watch reviews it briefly here.


  5. Kerrie says:

    The Charlotte Jay one is a good suggestion – I thought of reading that myself


  6. GretchenH says:

    A couple more African settings:
    Ghana: Wife of the Gods – Kwei Quartey
    South Africa: A Beautiful Place to Die – Malla Nunn
    And one set in China:
    A Loyal Character Dancer – Qiu Xiaolong


  7. kathy durkin says:

    I’m impressed by everyone’s suggestions here. I’m still working on the Scandinavian book challenge as I keep falling back to U.S. or English authors.
    Good luck, Bernadette and let us know what you recommend. I guess you’ve read Colin Cotterill already.


  8. Thanks everyone – I think I’ll be right now.

    Margot I do remember you suggesting that author before but I didn’t write it on my wishlist (naughty me) have just checked and there is a reasonably priced copy at Book Depository – yay

    Gretchen I have tried to find the Kwei Quartey book a few times – it’s out of stock at Book Depository and no one in this country has ever heard of it which is very annoying – I’ll keep trying though. I have already read (and loved) both of Malla Nunn’s books set in 1950’s South Africa

    Kathy I have indeed read Colin Cotterill – next time I do a challenge like this I won’t be so silly as to impose an additional rule like ‘new to me authors’


  9. Maxine says:

    Why not try James McClure (Steam Pig)? They are not new books but I remember them as a very good S African series. And Catherine Sampson’s third and fourth books, Pool of Unease and Slaughter Pavilion are, I think, very good. They are set in China and she lives there (an ex-BBC correspondent) – but she herself is not Chinese. I highly recommend the books, though – the first two Falling off Air and Out of Mind, are set in UK, the main character in those is a “bridge” character in Pool of Unease and a minor character in The Slaughter Pavilion, both of which are mainly about a Chinese PI. My reviews of 3 and 4 are at Euro Crime.


  10. I found your blog through the 2010 Global Reading Challenge page and was just skimming your reviews. If you’re still looking for Wife of the Gods, by Kwei Quartey, try the online Australian store booktopia – they do have it listed on their site and should be able to order it in for you from one of their suppliers.


  11. Oh thanks for the tip about Booktopia – I have used them before but not for ages and it didn’t occur to me to look there. The book does sound like one that I would like so I shall head over to Booktopia now. If I remember correctly they have a flat shipping rate regardless of how many books a girl buys…..


  12. Yes… they sure do, it’s about $6.50. My bank account has heaved a rather massive groan since I discovered that site!


  13. Kinna says:

    For Ghana, try True Murder by Yaba Badoe.


  14. Maxine says:

    True Murder was quite good, but it is based in the UK even though written by a Ghanian author (and contains a Ghanian element in the mind, so to speak). My review of it is on Euro Crime if you want to investigate, Bernadette. My copy already went to Dorte!


  15. Thanks to all for the suggestions . I’ve now decided what to read for the rest of my slots and have books flying in from all over the place including the local library and a second hand bookstore in Alaska! I’ve got some good reading coming up

    Oh and 1girl I do appreciate the tip because I did find Wife of the Gods at Booktopia but of course I had to order a couple of other books too just to make the shipping worthwhile so I’m blaming you for my book budget blowout 🙂


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