Author of the Malmö mysteries speaks about plotting and future installments.
Scottish born Torquil MacLeod’s first novel Meet Me in Malmö introduced readers to Inspector Anita Sundström. Despite being a solidly plotted novel it’s ending has polarised readers.
Originally written as a film screenplay, Meet Me in Malmö is strong on description and characterisation. Packed with information about Malmö’s history and geography, the book also functions as a handy travel guide.
More complex than its predecessor, Torquil MacLeod’s second novel, Murder in Malmö, is a page-turning thriller. After events in the previous book Inspector Anita Sundström’s career has been sidelined. When the head of an advertising agency is found dead Anita’s colleagues are assigned to the investigating team. Partnered with a young rookie she investigates a series of stolen paintings while searching for the opportunity to restore her reputation.
Have you been surprised by the reaction to Meet Me in Malmö ‘s ending?
I was in a way. The scenario for the ending is explained earlier in the book, so it shouldn’t have come as a total surprise. It’s been a case of some readers love it, other readers don’t, particularly in America. I think they prefer their endings to be neater and happier. But I still wouldn’t change the ending given my time again. I’d rather get some reaction than no reaction.
How soon after finishing writing Meet Me in Malmö did you start planning a second outing for Anita Sundström?
As it was based on a film idea, it was going to be a one-off. However, as I got further into the book, I rather took to Anita and the team and began to think that I would like to explore them further. So, I started to think about a follow-up before I’d finished Meet me.
Meet Me in Malmö was originally a screenplay before being novelised. As Murder in Malmö was always intended to be a novel did the process of plotting differ?
My approach was only different in that I decided that any future full-length novels would have two plotlines. It makes my life more complicated, but it’s more satisfying if you get it to work.
Does your Britishness enable you to be more detached when writing about Sweden? Can you say things about the country that a Nordic writer couldn’t?
Being more detached certainly makes it easier to make observations about Sweden and its history. Part of the fun is putting in details of Swedish life that Nordic writers take for granted. Whether my observations are accurate, you’d have to ask some Swedes.
The third and fourth Anita Sundström mysteries – Missing in and Midnight in Malmö will shortly be published by McNidder & Grace. How many more books will there be in this series?
I’m not sure. I’ve nearly finished an Anita Sundström novella set during a traditional Swedish Christmas. That should be out as an ebook in October. I’m certainly going to write a fifth novel, and then we’ll see what happens.
Will you be attending any crime fiction festivals in the near future?
Nothing is planned at the moment.
What’s been the most encouraging comment you’ve received since your writing career began?
‘Thank God! At last you’ve come up with something that people might want to read.’ Mrs MacLeod
Thanks to Toquil MacLeod and McNidder & Grace for making this interview possible.
Murder in Malmö can be ordered from Amazon: