Monday, December 07, 2020


An Ari Thór thriller by Ragnar Jónasson

Minotaur Books 2019
Translated from the Icelandic by Quentin Bates

This title slipped past me last year. Ragnar had actually written it earlier (2012) than some of his previously published titles in English. He is on a roll these days, his serviceable mysteries (this is not a thriller in any sense of the definition) keep on coming with five titles in the Ari Thór series and three of the Hulda stories so far. I’ve reviewed most of them here.

This is a “family and friends” type of mystery, where relationships are not what they seem, even after sixty years. The three main plot threads concern a family history puzzle triggered by an old photograph, a revenge plot for an accidental killing, and the efforts of a television reporter trying to tie members of the current Icelandic parliament to murders related to the revenge. Ari Thór, nominally the protagonist, is stuck in Siglufjörður, a small town on the North coast of Iceland, due to a quarantine caused by the death of a tourist who brought hemorrhagic fever to the area. Ísrún, the reporter, contacts Ari for information on the epidemic and becomes intrigued by Ari’s story of an extended family in the mid-1950s who once lived on a remote farm where one of the women died from poison. Ísrún is also covering a stolen baby story which may be related to a hit-and-run death and a brutal killing three years previously.

The writing is good and the different plot lines don’t get confusing. There is a fair amount of Icelandic scenery, both in the north and in Reykjavík. Rupture just didn’t grab me; I think Ragnar’s later Hulda novels are better.

By Professor Batty


Blogger jono said...

I read this a few years ago, but remembered that the scenery was a strong part of it. I finally got to watch season 2 of Trapped. Sometimes I wish there could be more summer scenery in these books and movies just to offset all the darkness and cold of the northern settings.

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