The Mist: the last shall be first

In the true tradition of The Bridge, that cornerstone of Nordic noir, the final part of the Hidden Iceland trilogy brilliantly demonstrates that… everything goes back to the beginning. It was a bold choice by author Ragnar Jónasson to tell his story in reverse order, starting with the bitter end of Hulda Hermannsdóttir’s career as…

The Island: isolation and intrigue

In a minor masterstroke, Icelandic author Ragnar Jónasson is telling his ‘Hidden Iceland’ series in reverse order. That’s not obvious when you read the first book to feature detective Hulda Hermannsdottir, The Darkness, which gets the ball rolling in the twilight of her career. But then all becomes obvious with The Island, set fifteen years…

Cold Breath: hot stuff!

The latest ‘Icelandic Murder Mystery’ is an ideal introduction to this series. I’ve read all the preceding episodes but reckon you can sit straight down with this one without any introduction. Cold Breath is immensely readable and stylishly constructed from multiple viewpoints; the policewoman at the core of the story; an investigative journalist who’s off…

The Shadow Killer: Iceland at war

It seems that there’s an insatiable appetite for crime novels which are also war stories – historical fiction which uses the international upheaval of WW2 as its dramatic backdrop. I blame Bernie Gunther… but find these philosophical investigations as compelling as any contemporary thrillers. It’s as if we still can’t come to terms with what…

The Shadow District: Icelandic excellence

Start here if you’ve never read any Icelandic crime, or never read anything by Arnaldur Indriðason, and fancy dipping a toe without needing to know racks of back-story from previous episodes. Alternatively, start here if you’ve read absolutely everything else translated into English by Arnaldur Indriðason and thoroughly enjoy his intelligent approach exploring the human…