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…

The Darkness: deceptively simple

If Ragnar Jónasson was a painter, he’d be a meticulous minimalist, quietly capturing the essence of commonplace events in a low-key life – and then revealing a dazzling, broad canvas which weeps with compassion for the human condition. The Darkness, a standalone investigation set in Iceland, may easily be his best work yet translated into…

Mystery Tour: sun, sea, and a stab in the back

There should be something to please everyone in this collection of 28, contemporary short stories, written by members of the Crime Writers’ Association. It’s billed as an international anthology, although the majority of writers are British or American. There’s just one Scandi story, one from Mumbai, and one written by a South African team, but…