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Crime mystery set in Reykjavik, ICELAND

16th May 2024

Silenced by Sòlveig Pàlsdòttir, crime mystery set in Reykjavik, Iceland

TR: Quentin Bates

Crime mystery set in Reykjavik, ICELAND

Silenced, book two of the Ice and Crime series by Sòlveig Pàlsdòttir, quickly gets into its stride. This book seems more confidently and entertainingly written than its predecessor – it is a joy for lovers of Icelandic crime fiction. In fact, I can’t wait to read the next one.

Guðgeir Fransson returns to full-time police work in Reykjavík after solving a case out in the sticks near Akureyri, where he had been based during a period of suspension. Now that he’s back in the big city he is initially assigned routine cases. He’s realistic about what he can achieve but hopes to repair both his career and his faltering marriage to Inga. He isn’t dismayed about his demotion, since it means that he’s now able to look into things that they wouldn’t usually have time for. His first routine enquiry is a young woman’s apparent suicide in prison. The case leads back to a long-unsolved case involving the disappearance of a young man from a well-to-do Reykjavík family.

Sòlveig ramps up the tension nicely, as the police are forced to draw more and more resources into the enquiries. Guðgeir has to pursue every possible source of information about each case, and I’ll admit I was pleased when he returned to consult retired detective Ingimundur, who – despite memory issues – just might hold the vital clue to solve them both.

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The author includes wonderful detail about both Icelandic culture and the book’s setting in Reykjavík. She provides an authentic insider-view of life in the country, showing ways in which attitudes differ from other countries mentioned, such as the UK and Australia. The story is set over a period of 30+ years, which also provides historical context: interesting details such as the introduction of technology and its effect on police work. The book illustrates a shameful attitude to women in Iceland over the years, but that’s not something that other countries can be smug about either.

Guðgeir is proving to be a complex and interesting character. He’s not easily excited and his phlegmatic-yet-driven attitude proves helpful in tracking down the evidence he needs. He plays off his colleagues nicely and you can’t help rooting for him to succeed.

Sue for the TripFiction Team

Catch our reviewer Sue on TwitterX @SueKelsoRyan and on IG @SueKelosRyan

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