Hi and welcome to ScandiSaturday! Today I’d like to talk to you about the Dark Iceland / Siglufjörður series by Ragnar Jónasson tr. Quentin Bates (book 1-5) and David Warriner (book 6)
Before you tell me you really don’t need another series in your life, let me just tell you that:
- There are only six books in this series, Winterkill is officially the last one.
- They are rather short reads, you can squeeze them in easily!
Note that the Dark Iceland publication order, i.e. the publication order of the English translations, does differ from the original Siglufjörður publication order. I decided to follow the English order, but I regretted that a little because although the cases are standalones, there is a continuing storyline focussing on the protagonist’s personal life, so I sort of spoiled things for myself. If you want to avoid any sort of spoilers, I advise you to read them in this order:
I had been collecting the books over the years and Winterkill coming out was the nudge I needed to finally start this series. To make sure I would, I made it one of my bookish challenges this year, although I have to admit it wasn’t much of a challenge: like all good series it was always a pleasure to dip back into and I’m really going to miss it.
This series in set in Siglufjörður, a small village in the north of Iceland, where the protagonist, Ari Thór Arason, takes up his first job as police officer. In Snowblind, Ari Thór who used to study theology is feeling positively out of his depth, both as a rookie cop and in this small, isolated village where he’s the outlander. But throughout the series, you see him grow as a person and as a detective.
Technically, these books are police procedurals, as each book tackles a crime and we follow the investigation through Ari Thór, but I have always considered them more of an Agatha Christie-type mystery. The crime element is definitely on the cosier side and to me it doesn’t have that hardboiled crime feel to it.
The very best thing about the Dark Iceland series is its atmosphere, it is just so atmospheric! A large part of that is the setting. Although Siglufjörður has evolved during the years and has become more accessible now, it is the perfect location for a locked room-style mystery. The often severe weather conditions play a role in that too. I love Ari Thór, I enjoy the mysteries, but in my opinion what Ragnar Jónasson does best is set a scene, and create an atmosphere that is just so extremely vivid it becomes tangible.
I had a great time with this series and if you’re looking to add to your Scandi collection and you like a good mystery, be sure to check out about the Dark Iceland / Siglufjörður series by Ragnar Jónasson!
Find out more about the author and the series and / or buy the books here.