The Murder of Halland

by Pia Juul


Denmark’s foremost literary author turns crime fiction on its head. Longlisted for the International Impac Dublin Literary Award. Longlisted for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2013.

Bess and Halland live in a small town where everyone knows everyone else. When Halland is found murdered in the main square the police encounter only riddles. For Bess bereavement marks the start of a journey that leads her to a reassessment of first friends, then family.

If you like crime you won’t be disappointed. The book has all the right ingredients. A murder, a gun, an inspector, suspense. But the story strays far beyond the whodunnit norm.

Translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken.

189pp, paperback with flaps, £10.00
ISBN 978-0-9562840-7-5
Publication date: 01 June 2012

Press & Reviews

'The Murder of Halland... is cooler and more calculated than any old Killing, and wrong-foots till it reveals the real mystery.' - Ali Smith in The Sunday Telegraph

'The Murder of Halland resist the idea that things add up - and questions whether thoughts are accessible to the person who has had them, let alone anyone else ... Bess sticks in the mind as a brilliantly drawn character.' - Christina Petrie, TLS

'Anything but a standard crime novel. The mystery at its heart is the mystery we are to each other; it is written in succinct, sometimes surreal prose.' - The Economist

'The novel leaves you with a lingering sense of strangeness.' - Independent on Sunday

'A disturbing and painful account of a woman whose world has been knocked off its axis.' - The Guardian

About The Book


Pia Juul, born 1962, claims her place as one of Denmark’s foremost literary authors. She has published five books of poetry, two short story collections and two novels. The Murder of Halland was published in Danish in 2009 and has won Denmark’s most important literary prize, Den Danske Banks litteraturpris. Pia is the translator of Ali Smith and Alain de Botton into Danish.


Martin Aitken holds a PhD in Linguistics and gave up university tenure to listen to The Fall and translate literature. His work has appeared in book form and in literary journals. He lives in rural Denmark.