Today Mandie is starting her Forbidden iceland journey with a review of The Creak on the Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir. I love Icelandic fiction, the atmosphere and tension the exudes from every page, and this was no exception. You can read my thoughts right here. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
When a woman’s body is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, investigators discover shocking secrets in her past. First in a disturbing, chillingly atmospheric new series.
When a body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area.
Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her collegues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day …
But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it’s too late.
Elma has returned to her hometown of Akranes and its not long before she finds herself in the middle of an investigation that at times looks quite straightforward, or at least that is the way her boss Hörður would like it to be. Elma is not so sure and soon has her colleague Sævar agreeing with her.
As Elma does some digging for herself it becomes apparent that there is more to the death than a simple accident. The glimpses into the childhood of the victim show both neglect and something far more sinister. These passages will certainly have you feeling sympathy for them and will also have you wondering who would want to harm her now that she was an adult. The truth of who and why will both surprise and shock you
This is definitely a book of secrets, even Elma herself is keeping them and at times this can make her seem distant to her colleagues. Her sense of frustration with her boss as he seems to want to end the investigations quickly is understandable, he seems more intent on not upsetting prominent people in the town than looking deeper into their lives. As with other books centred around the lovely scenery in Iceland this is not a fast-paced book, but I think that is to its benefit, giving the reader the chance to experience the twist and turns of the story as they happen and becoming invested in the lives of all those affected by events.
What I loved about this book was the complexity of the characters and how when you looked beyond the façade we really don’t know people as well as we think we do. As with all small towns, everyone knows everyone, and they feel like they know your business. Secrets often become the way to survive, to hold something back but as Elma discovers sometimes these secrets are deadly.
This is the first in the Forbidden Iceland series and I have to say that having finished it I really can’t wait to get stuck into book 2 and meeting up with Elma on her next investigation.
About the Author
Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva Björg Ægisdóttir studied for an MSc in Globalisation in Norway before returning to Iceland and deciding to write a novel – something she had wanted do to since she won a short-story competition at the age of fifteen. After nine months combining her writing with work as a stewardess and caring for her children, Eva had finished The Creak on the Stairs. It was published in 2018, and became a bestseller in Iceland. It also went on to win the Blackbird Award, a prize set up by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Ragnar Jonasson to encourage new Icelandic crime writers.
Eva lives in Reykjavík with her husband and three children and is currently working on her next novel.
TRANSLATED BY VICTORIA CRIBB
Books by Eva Bjorg Ægisdottir