tram stop international review: elisabeth egholm, three dog night

Guest post by Liz Barr! Also, allow for two stops.

I love a bit of Scando-noir. If crime fiction reflects the fears and concerns of a society, then the Scandinavian offerings raise an interesting paradox: these countries with international reputations for being egalitarian, democratic and transparent tend to produce fiction that confronts the failures of these ideals.

Danish novel Three Dog Night attempts to continue this trend, with a protagonist who grew up in state institutions and spent time in prison for manslaughter committed under complex circumstances. But the social concerns it reflects are straight out of a comments page — what the average Dane fears, the author seems to suggest, are criminal motorcycle gangs, Muslims and women. The central plot, dealing with the murder of an ex-convict and the disappearance of a local teenager, is gripping, if driven by a series of unlikely coincidences, but the subtext is altogether unpleasant.

Egholm is a seasoned crime writer, but her narrative is let down by a stilted translation that keeps the reader at arm’s length. The female body count climbs higher and higher, and the climax depicts graphic animal cruelty and sexual violence against women. There’s a last-minute attempt to frame the whole affair as a fight against misogyny, but that’s a bit hard to take seriously when there are nipples flying about.


Arrested and charged with the trafficking of books. Charges dismissed after bribing the judge with some new releases. Small. Ginger. Enjoys history, cephalopods and tween media.