Uriah on Arctic Chill

Arnaldur Indridason gets another nod over at Crime Scraps – in a review that includes some commentary on the current economic meltdown that has destroyed Iceland’s go-go financial markets.

It reminds me that, two years ago when I spoke to the author, he commented that until recently Iceland was a very poor country. The new wealth was causing some upheaval in the culture, with more urbanization and the risk that the Icelandic language and traditions might get diluted as the island nation’s isolation ended. (Erlendur’s preference for traditional Icelandic cuisine and irritation when the language is misused is a kind of protest against change.) When I asked Arnaldur what accounted for the new wealth, he said it was had to do with banking, but that nobody really knew what it was all about or how it made so much money. Apparently neither did the bankers!

Uriah comments –

If Iceland’s banking system and financiers have proved unreliable, that cannot be said for their crime writers.

I have just finished reading Arnaldur Indridason’s  police procedural Arctic Chill in which Erlendur, Sigurdur Oli and Elinborg investigate the death of a young Thai-Icelandic boy, whose Thai half brother has gone missing.

This superb novel gives us an account of the investigation while identifying the tensions that exist  between new immigrants from Asia and the small Icelandic indigenous population. Many of the Icelanders feel that their culture will be destroyed by the incomers who themselves find it hard to cope with the language and the harsh weather. Other issues are introduced with the possible presence in the vicinity of a paedophile, marital infidelity,  and the death of Erlendur’s old boss Marion Briem. . . .

This is crime fiction at its best . . .

Oh, go ahead – read the whole thing. And then place your order for Arctic Chill. I’m particularly interested in comparing its themes with those in Karin Fossum’s The Indian Bride, which I’m finally reading.

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