I can’t remember when I last gave a book 5/5? However I felt that this feat of Nordic Noir deserved it simply for leaving me feeling utterly hopeless! I found myself staring at the page, thinking ‘he (Grant Nicol) wouldn’t really do that… would he? well if you want to know, you’ll have to read it and find out for yourself! If you’re partial to crimes and emotions being resolved, loose ends nicely tied in bows, then maybe this isn’t the book for you. Without giving too much away, this is a dark tale set in Reykjavik and the surrounding areas and centres on a young woman Ylfa, her two sisters and their elderly father. The story is told in the first person from Ylfa’s perspective which works really well, and for all intents and purposes you would assume that she is the main character of the book. However as I was browsing the follow up books in the series, I noted that they are subtitled ‘The Grímur Karlsson Mysteries’ Grimur being the detective in this series. I have to admit it struck me as a little strange that someone who in all honestly played such a minor part in this initial book would be the defining character of the series, but we’ll see – hopefully the character gets developed more in the follow up The Mistake I’m about to start…
I only noticed that it’d not read this book when tidying up my wish list, hastily ordered because I couldn’t believe I’d missed another instalment of the ever pensive Erlendur. It didn’t take long to realise that this was a prequel, the book cover features an eerie looking blue lagoon, not the fun n frolic-y one we’re used to seeing in tourist photos, and as the first crime unfolds it becomes apparent it was set before the blue lagoon existed as a private entity.
The story (or stories as there is never just one thread in these books) are centred around activity related to the air force base at Keflavik, a murder and a missing persons cold case. This gives you some insight into Elendur’s fascination with missing persons whichs is a constant thread woven throughout the later series even if you’ve never read any of the other books that reveal the whole back story. So you can read this as a standalone book and not feel like you’re missing out. The other story is investigated mostly by Erlendur’s mentor, Marion Briem – which again fills out some back story missing from the later set books. I’m hoping that this continues – as I feel that this would be a really interesting addition to the series. I dont want to say much about the story as I feel that this would spoil the plot too much, but as usual the plot is a slow boiling stew with the tension mounting more than I expected towards the final few chapters and I really didn’t want to stop reading but had to go to work!
This is a small, compact book and initially I thought I would finish it in a day, but as I found out from the first few chapters, this would be very un-hygge of me to do so. Although you might initially think the whole hygge thing a bit of a fad (there has been a slew of books come out all just before Christmas), this book has some really strong points aside from being written by someone who runs a Happiness Institute. Along with all the tips on how to make your home hygge, ideas for hygge get togethers there’s also some nice sounding recipes to try out, and getting together with friends to try them would be totally hygge. If you’re looking for something to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside whilst stuck indoors listening to the rain hit the window, this is it.
The premise of this book is fairly simple – a 100 year old man climbs out of the window of his care home and disappears, but nothing could have prepared me for the gloriously funny stories that unfold. Not only the story of what happens once he turns 100 and nips out the window, but the back story of his entire life which is interspersed with the modern day adventure. Was he responsible for Hiroshima? Did he thwart Stalin? Become friends with Harry S Truman? read it and find out…
I don’t think I can truly express how much I loved this book? It really surprised me – I don’t recall why I downloaded it, probably some Kindle deal day, but it must’ve sat there unread for a year or so, I actually put it in my ‘Holiday Reads’ folder twice, but when it came to the actual holiday thought it would be too much hard work. Silly me.
It’s a witty and interesting whirlwind tour through European languages since the Greeks. Where they came from, how they evolved, languages that died out, languages that have been resurrected. Learned at least what some of those squiggles under and above some letters mean, along with why my Finnish friend Liisa spells her name with two i’s.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, well why don’t they just spell it like that or why does this language put words in this order? Why are something masculine and feminine and others not – you’ll likely learn all about that in this book.
One of my favourite parts was at the end of each chapter, there was a word English has loaned from each language – along with often a word that doesn’t exist in English that probably should.
As someone who’s learning Swedish, this book was so insightful, as someone who’s had brief dalliances with several other languages through life, I feel again so much more informed – knowing the why not just the how.