Thrillers and their trouble with nobles

As a lover of crime novels and thrillers I am always surprised at the amount of noble names appearing in them. Many won’t even notice, but if you know something about royalty and nobility, it is quite remarkable. Whether it is Agatha Christie (f.e. Lord Edgware Dies) or the modern thrillers, especially from the UK and Sweden, but also Finland or Germany. Interestingly enough especially in Scandinavia thrillers prefer to describe nobles as rich, living on grand estates, far removed from normal people and reality. And if the characters are more sympathic, they are troubled because of their past. While often noble sounding fake names are used, also names of real noble families turn up.

I just finished the debut novel of Finnish writer Max Seeck in which the main character, a police woman called Jessica Niemi, turns out to be of noble descend (von Hellens), hiding her enormous wealth for her colleagues. Several other noble names turn up like Adlercreutz and Von Bunsdorf (not sure if that name really exist, but there is a noble family from Scandinavia called Von Bonsdorff). Another author that used a noble as a main character is the Swedish author Mikaela Bley, who wrote several books about journalist Ellen Tamm, who solves crimes. Again a troubled and posh background, rebelling against her noble family. The popular German author Nele Neuhaus is another one that chose a noble and sympathic police officer, a man this time, called Oliver von Bodenstein. He is married (later divorced) to a German Countess, who comes from a wealthy family. Naturally not all members of his family seem to approve his choice of carreer.

There are also noble authors of thrillers, most notably in recent years Niklas Natt och Dag, from an old Swedish noble family. He wrote both 1793 (In English called The Wolf and the Watchman) and 1794 (supposedly also 1795 is in the making), describing the Swedish troubles just after the death of King Gustav III of Sweden. Quite dark books that weren’t really my cup of tea, but were still quite readable.

I wonder if the books really reflect what most people think about nobility in their country. I would be interested in hearing your opinion. And if you know of more examples, and there must be hundreds of them, let me know!

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