Wallander Killing Birgitte on the Bridge

As the afternoons get darker and Christmas rolls closer, thoughts turn to gloom, doom and murder. Or is that just me?

Some friends did express concern last year when I told them that on Boxing Day I escaped from everyone and everything and watched all three Dragon Tattoo films back to back but I had a great time. I’m not sure though that that is exactly what the Danes would describe as hygge.

Quite a few of the pundits of popular culture in the English press have expressed surprise that Scandinavian detective stories and murder mysteries have been so popular in the UK … not only in the bookshops but on TV. Surely though it’s fairly easy to understand: since the publication of the Woman in White as a serial, the English have loved mysteries, we prefer any detective who is scruffy or slightly flawed, the outsider, unless it's Bergerac, and Wallander Killing Birgitte on the Bridge is a pretty stylish update of Professor Plum with the Candlestick in the Study. Surely it’s all just Morse goes to Habitat?

If you are interested in Scandinavian design and need a bit of a crammer on what homes in the Nordic countries look like then there is nothing as accessible and easy or asentertaining as switching on your television and watching Borgen - the latest and, apparently, what is to be the last series starts here this month so that is my next five Saturday evenings sorted. Or you could escape Winter by looking at travel brochures for Scania, dreaming about renting a house looking over the beach just like Kurt’s near Ystad. On the other hand, not sure that I’d feel too comfortable in a place where Lisbeth Salander was the stylist but I guess there is even a time and place for Nordic grunge.

Maybe that is actually part of the appeal for the English. The antidote to all those IKEA ads. It’s quite reassuring for the English to know that even in Copenhagen it rains and looks gloomy sometimes and there are streets in Stockholm where people don’t alway walk along humming tracks from ABBA.