8 June 2015

Three views of crime in Iceland?

By pure accident the last three novels that I have read, all crime fiction of course, were set in Iceland, a country that I have never actually visited.

4.8, SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir- translated
4.4, OBLIVION, Arnaldur Indridason  - translated from Icelandic
4.5, FROZEN OUT, Quentin Bates - set in Iceland

The first and last were by new-to-me authors and were set after the global financial crisis hit Iceland. OBLIVION is by an author that I feel I know well and is a prequel to an existing series.
Two of the novels are translated but FROZEN OUT is by a British author who first went to Iceland for his "gap" year and stayed on.

All of the novels emphasise how small Iceland is, how everybody knows everybody-else, and I'm trying to decide whether they present the same view of Iceland. They all certainly seem to say that very little crime takes place in Iceland, serial killers are almost unknown, and that Iceland presents a similar crime profile to the rest of the Western world.

FROZEN OUT is a police procedural with a very strong female sleuth. It is the first in a series.
SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME is the 5th in a series and features a female lawyer.
OBLIVION features Elendur, and is a prequel to a long series which began with JAR CITY.

I think that OBLIVION is the most noir, and that the other two both present a much more optimistic view of Iceland. I think that, despite his long residence, Quentin Bates still has an "incomers" view of the island.

How do you see them?

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

It is interesting, Kerrie, how we get different views of Iceland depending on who the author is. Part of it may be the difference between growing up there and moving there later. Part of it is of course author style and so forth. I've never been there either, and that makes me wonder which version is closest to reality...


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