A(nother) Year Of Orenda – Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir trns Victoria Cribb

Today Mandie shares her thoughts on Girls Who Lie, book two in the Forbidden Iceland series by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir. I loved catching back up with Elma in this latest outing and you can read my review of this most excellent novel right here. It’s hard to believe that this review brings Mandie all but. two or three books from having read and reviewed the entire Orenda Books catalogue, considering she had only read half a dozen at the start or 2020 and yet here we are. What an amazing journey. Before we see what Mandie thought, here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: Ebook 22 May 21
Paperback 22 July 2021
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

When a depressed, alcoholic single mother disappears, everything suggests suicide, but when her body is found, Icelandic Detective Elma and her team are thrust into a perplexing, chilling investigation.


When single mother Maríanna disappears from her home, leaving an apologetic note on the kitchen table, everyone assumes that she’s taken her own life … until her body is found on the Grábrók lava fields seven months later, clearly the victim of murder. Her neglected fifteen-year-old daughter Hekla has been placed in foster care, but is her perfect new life hiding something sinister?

Fifteen years earlier, a desperate new mother lies in a maternity ward, unable to look at her own child, the start of an odd and broken relationship that leads to a shocking tragedy.

Police officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case, which becomes increasingly complex, as the number of suspects grows and new light is shed on Maríanna’s past – and the childhood of a girl who never was like the others…

Breathtakingly chilling and tantalisingly twisty, Girls Who Lie is at once a startling, tense psychological thriller and a sophisticated police procedural, marking Eva Björg Ægisdottir as one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

Mandie’s Thoughts

Girls Who Lie is the second book in the Forbidden Iceland series and I think my favourite of the two as we get to see more of the dynamic between Elma and Sævar and also get to understand more about Elma outside of the work setting. The other thing I like about this series is that although they are a series you can read each one in its own right and not feel like you are missing out on any important backstory so that the current story makes sense.

When the body of a missing woman is found it is down to Elma and Sævar to determine how she came to be in the cave and who was responsible for her death. This is not going to be easy as it means they have to re-open the investigation that was closed 6 months before when they believed that Mariannahad either just disappeared or taken her own life. As they dig deeper into the life of Marianna and her daughter Hekla they are confronted with quite a few unreliable witnesses who all seem to be hiding secrets for one reason or another making it no easy task to work out exactly what happened and if it is related to the past or the present. 

Once again Eva Björg Ægisdottir uses the dual timeline to perfection giving the reader little glimpses into the possible motives behind the murder but what is never quite so clear until the end is who these glimpses are actually about. I thought I knew but the further into the book I go the less certain I became and by the end I realised I had got it totally wrong. All the characters have that authentic feel about them and with the exception of Elma and the team you just know that you can’t trust any of them giving you multiple suspects to wonder about.

For me Girls Who Lie show that Eva Björg Ægisdottir is really settling into her writing style and continuing to develop her main characters into ones that the reader is keen to get to know more and more. The pacing of the books draw you in gradually until you are complete immersed in the story and the setting. I for one am really looking forward to more from this author and cant wait to find out what case Elma finds herself in the middle of next.

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 to do 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 finished The Creak on the Stairs. It was published in 2018, and became a bestseller in Iceland, going on to win the Blackbird Award, a prize set up by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Ragnar Jónasson to encourage new Icelandic crime writers. The Creak on the Stairs was published in English by Orenda Books in 2020, and became a number-one bestseller in ebook in three countries, and shortlisted for the Capital Crime/Amazon Publishing Awards in two categories. Girls Who Lie, the second book in the Forbidden Iceland series, is published in 2021. Dubbed the ‘Icelandic Ruth Rendell’ by the British press, Eva lives in Reykjavík with her husband and three children and is currently working on the third book in the Forbidden Iceland series.

Books by the Author