Another Reason to Love Iceland: Discovering Arnaldur Indridason
by Alan E. Lewis
Entry: November 2010
Alan & Harriet’s book is receiving some rave reviews on Amazon.com.
My literary career is only a couple of months old: Harriet’s and my first book, Driving With No Brakes, was published in September. I’m happy to tell you that the reviews on Amazon.com are terrific, and both of us are really gratified by that.
“Fantastic story. Fantastic company,” one reviewer posted. “An interesting case study about the growth of an exceptional, modern company. The style of the layout and myriad anecdotal sidebars, make Driving With No Brakes a fast-paced and worthy read. The Lewises have set a new standard in growing a company right. Highly recommended reading….”
Now I’d like to tell you about someone who’s been writing a lot longer. I heard about him when Harriet and I and our children were making our own discoveries in Iceland, which I wrote about last month. His name is Arnaldur Indridason, and he’s a mystery writer—though what he does with the genre is something new and wonderful. His books are set in Iceland, and his police detective is a middle-aged man named Erlendur, a hero unlike any I’ve come across in my years of mystery reading. He’s unhappily divorced, is clumsily getting to know his two adult children, and at the end of a long day he tends to fall asleep in a chair in his flat with his coat still on. He likes old-fashioned Icelandic food—like sheep’s head—and he smokes too much.
Iceland’s stark beauty is the backdrop for Arnaldur Indridason’s mystery novels.
But he is relentless. He is driven. He will not stop his investigations until he has gotten all of his questions answered. Iceland has a low crime rate, and the novels reflect that. Many of Erlendur’s investigations involve decades-old missing persons cases. I don’t want to spoil any of the rather dramatic background about Erlendur’s past, but you’ll see as you read that there are reasons why Erlendur is repeatedly drawn to such cases.
Inridason has written ten novels about Erlendur; six have been translated into English, most recently Hypothermia, translated by Victoria Cribb and published by Minataur Books. I recommended all of them highly, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one. You’ll get a wonderful feel for Iceland’s majestic landscape, filled with mountains, lakes, and waterfalls. You’ll also encounter a writer with a sensitive understanding of what it means to care about other people. Let me know what you think.
Alan E. Lewis