Our favourite amateur detectives, Puck and Einar Bure (Tuva Novotny and Linus Wahlgren), must run up tiny bills at their home in Stockholm – they are hardly ever there. This week saw them freeloading in Berslagen again, this time with Puck’s Uncle Tord, a Lutheran minister, in his sprawling vicarage. Well, it is Christmas.
A young girl sitting at a table opens a parcel and is overjoyed to find a novel. She shakes its leaves apart expectantly and when she finds there is nothing else within the book she looks stricken. She goes walking through the snowy landscape outside and wades Ophelia-like into a nearby lake. So far, so intriguing; from this pre-credits vignette we take it that the novel is somehow a message to the girl – but what was missing that drove her to suicide?
The time lapses between episodes in this series are undefined but they would seem pretty lengthy. Our sleuthing lovers Einar and Puck Bure are now obviously falling into a lull after about two years of marriage, the stage at which couples are over the first flush of romance and are beginning to question the wisdom of entering into the institution of marriage. Still, the pair take something of a back seat in Roses, Kisses And Death, as an off-duty Christer Wijk (Ola Rapace) tries to take a break from work and moves the action into full Agatha Christie territory.
This week’s episode would have been more accurately entitled ‘You Can Never Go Home Again’ because when our intrepid amateur gumshoes Puck and Einar (Tuva Novotny and Linus Wahlgren) return to Einar’s home village of Skoga they find themselves tripping over yet another corpse. As we are fast learning, no one should invite these sleuthing hobbyists as houseguests because they suffer from that well-worn TV bromide, the Jessica Fletcher syndrome – murder follows in their wake.
This week’s episode of the attractive, Swedish period whodunit almost went all Inspector Morse on us, as the title – King Lily Of The Valley – is taken from a work by 19th century poet Gustaf Fröding. In floriography lily of the valley (highly poisonous and quite sexy according to a recent botanical study) signifies the return of happiness and is a common flower at weddings. So when our sleuthing trio rocks up at the chocolate-boxy village of Skoga for the wedding of an old pal we know it can only bring a whole bouquet of skulduggery – weddings being a staple of murder mysteries.
We had to wait a little while, but our next Scandinavian crime drama fix comes via Sweden. But Crimes Of Passion is not a modern, contemporary story, like The Killing or The Bridge. No, it’s a fairly quaint Swedish whodunnit, with a trio of 1950s-set characters. Crimes Of Passion is a Swedish crime series based upon the novels by Maria Lang, and follows three crime-busting friends who investigate whodunnits in and around idyllic Bergslagen in 1950s Sweden.
Absolutely typical. You take a bit of a break from things and you think you’ve chosen your time away from the keyboard wisely because there isn’t much on, and then there’s a glut of new stuff bombing in while you’re on your mini-hiatus. That’ll learn me.
Let’s get to it. BBC4, who has made a name for itself as finest purveyor of foreign language drama, has announced the transmission date for its latest import. And it’s not any old import – it’s a Swedish drama, featuring an amateur sleuth. We’ve not had a Scandinavian drama since The Bridge, and there has been a huge hole ever since for fans of Scandi murder and mayhem. While Crimes Of Passion may not have the darkness of a Killing or a Bridge, it does look like a worthy addition to the Nordic canon. Find out more after the jump.