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review 2018-04-03 15:48
Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner? / Katrine Keilos
Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner?: A Story About Women and Economics by Katrine Marcal (5-Mar-2015) Paperback - Katrine Marcal

How do you get your dinner? That is the basic question of economics. It might seem easy, but it is actually very complicated.

When Adam Smith proclaimed that all our actions were motivated by self-interest and the world turned because of financial gain he laid the foundations for 'economic man'. Selfish and cynical, 'economic man' has dominated our thinking ever since, the ugly rational heart of modern day capitalism. But every night Adam Smith's mother served him his dinner, not out of self-interest, but out of love.

Even today, the unpaid work of mothering, caring, cleaning and cooking is not part of our economic models. All over the world, there are economists who believe that if women are paid less, then that's because their labour is worth less.

In this engaging, popular look at the mess we're in, Katrine Marçal charts the myth of 'economic man', from its origins at Adam Smith's dinner table to its adaptation by the Chicago School and finally its disastrous role in the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.


If you are wondering what the answer to the title’s question, it was his mother. Adam Smith never married and was cared for by his mother and a female cousin. Without whom he would never have had the time to write The Wealth of Nations.

Very appropriately, this book was penned by a young Swedish woman. She is properly outraged by the assumptions of the field of economics that women and many of the tasks that they undertake really don’t count. She points out that the world gets split in two—male/female, logic/emotion, spirit/body, etc. and the female/emotional/physical gets short shrift in economic theory. Which is silly when you truly consider it, as we are all emotional and physical beings and we are all far from completely logical. Its this kind of deliberate omitting of important things that leads to environmental destruction (assuming it to be without cost) and the difficulty of getting food and medical care to those that need it around the world (because feeding & caring are “female” responsibilities, so they should be done for free and shouldn’t be a factor in economic systems or a worry of politicians).

Self-interest exists, we all have it. But we also have people that we care about and for whom we do things that don’t make sense logically. We also do nice things for people we don’t even know—give directions, hand over spare change, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ It doesn’t make sense to run the financial world as though none of this exists or to act as though it only exists outside the financial world. While we are working to make the world a more equal place, maybe we can renovate economics to acknowledge reality?

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review 2018-03-26 17:16
Midwinter Sacrifice / Mons Kallentoft
Midwinter Sacrifice - Mons Kallentoft

The snow covered all the tracks, as the killer knew it would. But it couldn't hide the victim, the man who now hung naked from a lonely tree on a frozen plain.

Malin Fors is first on the scene. A thirty-one-year-old single mother, Malin is the most talented and ambitious detective on the Linkoping police force, but also the most unpredictable. She must lead the investigation while keeping her fractured life on the rails.

No one knows the identity of the dead man. Or perhaps no one ever wanted to know. When all the voices of the investigation have fallen silent, Malin can rely only on herself and her own instincts. And as she follows in the frigid wake of the killer, Malin begins to discover just how far the people in this small town are willing to go to keep their secrets buried.


Probably actually a 3.5 star book for me. It’s getting much harder to fool me, now that I’ve read a fair number of Nordic mysteries and I really treasure the books that do manage to pull the wool over my eyes. Midwinter Sacrifice managed to keep me guessing until the last chapters, when it just kind of stuttered to the end.

I liked Malin Fors, the female detective main character. I could appreciate her ambition and determination to solve a case. There was a little too much emphasis on her “feminine intuition” for me, since I think both men & women use their intuition and that police officers especially rely on it, no matter which gender they are.

I also like Malin’s daughter, Tove. Unlike so many detectives in mystery fiction, Malin lives with her daughter and tries to be a decent mother. Malin’s struggles to decide what is reasonable as a parent makes her very real to me.

Although I probably won’t hurry on to the next book, I can certainly imagine that I will get to it eventually to see what the Swedish detective investigates next.

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review 2017-03-27 22:47
Spring Tide / Cilla & Rolf Borjlind
Spring Tide - Cilla Börjlind

How could I forget how much I enjoy a good Scandinavian mystery? One of my cousins asked me what I like so much about them and was surprised when I replied that I love how bleak they are! You just know to expect corrupt politicians, ruthless criminals, gruesome murders, and cold, nasty weather.

Spring Tide certainly begins with a particularly cruel murder, witnessed by a young boy. And then the game is on, and the authors hurtle the reader through a twistly, turny, convoluted plot that kept me turning pages.

People who dislike multiple points-of-view (especially occurring in the same chapter) may want to pass this one by. I myself find that style intriguing—okay, there was a page break, who am I reading now? It keeps my little grey cells actively engaged.

Extra credit for being able to surprise me with a few details—I guessed some, but missed other important angles, giving the end of book wrap-up a little extra oomph for me.

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review 2016-07-02 21:56
1222 / Anne Holt
1222 - Anne Holt,Marlaine Delargy

1222 is the story of how a small group of people find themselves stuck in a hotel during an apocalyptic snow storm. Following a dramatic train derailment at Finse, the conflict between the survivors escalates while a furious hurricane threatens the unprotected village. Nobody is there to help, and there is no way out of the inferno for the survivors hiding out. On the first night at the hotel, a man is found shot and murdered. The victim is Cato Hammer, a priest known nation-wide for his ability – and desire – to get in the papers. Hanne Wilhelmsen, retired Inspector at the Oslo Police, is drawn into a race against time, a murderer, and the worst storm in the Norwegian alps on record. She loses the first round. Soon, another one of God’s servants is murdered, when an icicle cuts through his body…


A mystery more typical of Agatha Christie than most Scandinavian authors. In fact, Ms. Christie is mention several times and I think this novel is meant as an homage to her. It is a “closed room” mystery—although the surroundings are a hotel by a train station. The train has derailed and the passengers are rescued, all during a howling blizzard. The severity of the blizzard keeps everyone in place and inside. One by one, their numbers decrease, sometimes through natural causes, but also through unnatural events, i.e. murder.

The main character, Hanne, is a former policewoman. She is dependent on her wheelchair, she is curmudgeonly, she is a lesbian, and I liked her a lot.

Very enjoyable, even reading one-eyed with unfamiliar reading glasses! I seem to have started at novel number 8 of the series, but I could definitely be convinced to try more of Anne Holt’s work.

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review 2015-11-29 22:14
The Scream of the Butterfly / Jakob Melander
The Scream of the Butterfly: A Lars Winkler Novel - Jakob Melander

The mayor of Copenhagen is found murdered in his luxury apartment. Detective Lars Winkler is put on this sensitive case, which is further complicated by the fact that the victim’s mother is the leader of the country’s most radical political party and the current minister of finance. Lars notices the minister and her husband are strangely untouched by their son’s death. When he begins to dig into the mayor’s past, he slowly uncovers the dark story of a young, idealistic man, who had only one wish: to free himself of his family and live his own life.


I received an Advance Reading Copy from the publisher, House of Anansi Press.

It was a bit confusing at the beginning, getting it all the characters straightened out and figuring out the flashbacks, but once I had those details established in my brain, this became a pretty standard Nordic Noir. The main character, Lars Winkler, is the typical detective of the genre—he’s getting divorced, his ex-wife is living with his boss, and he’s a bit reluctant to share all of his thoughts about an investigation with his colleagues.

The real star of this mystery, however, is the transgender woman, Serafine, whose tale winds its way through the novel. I found the sections depicting her point of view to be the best written in the book. In fact, I think it’s too bad that this publisher changed the title—in Denmark, the book is called Serafine. I know very little about the struggles of transgender people, but it seemed to me that Melander really felt for this character and portrayed her extremely sympathetically.

Other than those two, the other people are little more than cardboard cut-outs. They exist only to fill their roles and they have very little substance. I hope that in future volumes of this series that they will get suitable back stories and become well rounded in their own right.

The other aspect that is written extremely well is the music—and a quick check of the author’s bio reveals that he has a musical background, so that makes perfect sense. In this aspect, the book reminds me of Mankell’s Wallander, with his passion for opera.

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