I do my traveling by armchair these days and I've come to believe that you can become very familiar with another culture through its crime fiction. There's something so universal about police, detectives, and amateur sleuths that immediately eases you into a foreign world. In his fifth U.S. publication, Iceland's Arnaldur Indridason returns with a stand-alone Inspector Erlendur novel that reveals the shadow side of a newly multicultural Reykjavik (Iceland's capital city).
Iceland is not much on the minds of most Americans, even after its recent financial meltdown. It's a place Sunee, the mother of the murdered child in Arctic Chill
, had never even heard of in her native Thailand until she was wooed by an Icelandic man. Now he's moved on and she's living in an apartment in Reykjavik with their son, Elias, and Niran, her older son she never told the man about. She...
Beyond the Book
Located midway between North America and mainland Europe (map), Iceland is the same distance from New York as New York is to Los Angeles. The island is the same size as the state of Ohio, with 11% of its surface covered in glaciers. Much of the country is an other-worldly moonscape of ancient lava flows covered in moss, and tall, treeless mountains. More than half of Iceland's 300,000 residents live in the capital city, Reykjavik (pronounced RAKE-ya-vick); but with more than 100,000 waterfalls, countless hot springs, numerous fjords, and green valleys, Iceland's uninhabitable parts are popular destinations for native and tourist explorers.