Literary locations of Sandhamn – Viveca Sten
Sandhamn and the Stockholm archipelago with Viveca Sten
Literary locations of Sandhamn – Viveca Sten – Scandi Noir and police procedurals are always top of many a bookworm’s crime fiction list but there’s one very good series that takes place in a very unique setting. Sandhamn is an island in the Stockholm archipelago – one of the most stunning places on earth – and it’s all peaceful, calm and inviting. Add a few boat trips, the aroma of a Swedish bakery and you can see why so many visit and holiday here. Add Viveca Sten who loves the island so much, she holidays there regularly and it’s her love of the island that led her to murder.
Sandhamn and Viveca Sten – Viveca Sten and Sandhamn
You really can’t talk about one without talking about the other. She’s set nine book there up to now ( eight in English translation) and there’s bound to be more.
It’s a top TV programme in Sweden (and I vouch that it’s really good and really sums up the essence of the books) and you can imagine how gorgeous the setting comes across on TV! There’s always lots of aerial shots not surprisingly and lingering looks on to the water…
Sandhamn is just a dream. There’s a strong sailing heritage on the island as you can imagine and the sailing club, harbour and yachts are always in the novels. They might be there as crime scenes, getaway or hiding places or where the islanders go to talk about the case.
Sandhamn is also the yachting centre of Sweden and home to the Swedish Royal Yachting Society (KSSS)
Sandhamn as a location
I think why this island and setting works so well is that the author is clearly in love with the island and it shows. Her eye for detail and descriptions of scenery are legendary but it’s her eye for island life and the nuances of that which really shine. The novels mix murder mystery, complex characters, island habits and traditions with financial concerns, money laundering and politics. Subjects you would think would be capital city matters if anything. The contrast between a stunning setting and the idea of an island paradise marred with such things is captivating and it’s what the Swedes do best in my eyes!
There’s a visit to neighbouring Lökholmen Island where someone has gone missing from a sailing camp. This is what is good about these novels. You get to go to places like a sailing camp and experience how unique and different island life is. Even if you’ve never sailed before, there’s plenty of visits to other islands too so it you’re seasick, take extra care when reading!
In Harm’s Way – we get to travel quite far out from Sandhamn – Vaxholm and its fortress, Stavsnäs and its harbour and this is also the novel where we head back into Stockholm itself. If you can do any part of these boat rides then do. It’s just the most stunning scenery in the world! Pick a nice day with sunshine and you honestly feel as if you are in Swedish paradise. Which you are if you ignore the various bodies Viveca has planted around the place haha!
For more island jaunts – Korsö is the biggest island to the right of Sandhamn and Telegrafholmen is the closest one.