The Darkness Book Cover The Darkness
Ragnar Jónasson
Women Sleuths, Norse and Icelandic Stories, Murder Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Michael Joseph
March 15, 2018
352

After being unceremoniously forced into early retirement at the age of 64, Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsd ttir of the Reykjavik Police is refusing to go quietly. Hulda is told to pick a cold case to investigate for two more weeks and she knows just the one. A young woman found dead on the seaweed-covered rocks of the Vatnsleysustrond. A woman who had come to Iceland in search of refuge and found only a watery grave. Her death was ruled a suicide after a slapdash investigation. But when Hulda starts to ask questions she soon realises that there was something far darker to this case. That this was not the only young woman to disappear from the hostel where the asylum seekers waited for their judgement and that no one is telling the whole story. And that if she uncovers something she shouldn't her own life might be in danger.

It was a dark and dreary time in Iceland – but then Iceland doesn’t get much sun and fun at the best of times – and if I was an asylum seeker, it is one of the last places I would chose to go to. Winter lasts a very long time indeed – and there aren’t a lot of people there (it is the most sparsely populated country in Europe) – and there isn’t much that is green and… bits of it are falling off – [Personal fact – I saw a glacier ‘calving’ once in Alaska – it was outstanding and so blue!]

But if needs must, then you go. But what you don’t want to find is a system where being female is something that puts you in yet more danger.

We have e new detective to me in this book – a Hulda Hermannsdóttir of Reykjavik, who doesn’t get on so well with her colleagues and thus is left investigating a cold case – the death of an asylium seeker. But what she gradually uncovers is rather more than she expected.

I am not a great Nordic Noir fan, whether in books or on TV, but this book fascinated me. It was well plotted and well translated and the style was polished. It was basically good storytelling for a murder and in the classic style.

I enjoyed it and the as for the ending – well a good plot with plenty of red herrings (and the Icelandic folks probably know quite a lot about them) – and unexpected ending.

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