Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson

29939301  Snowblind is listed as a thriller and Icelandic Noir, but it reads in many ways as a Golden Age mystery with a Noir atmosphere.  Ari Thor is newly assigned to a far northern town in Iceland, just barely below the Arctic circle. It is his first posting as a new police officer and he still has a lot to learn.  Right from the start he is not sure if he has made the right choice in accepting the post.  His girlfriend in Reykjavik doesn’t seem to think so and he wonders how much experience he will really gain in this town where no one locks their doors.

The sense of place  is so well done here, voiced in Ari’s sense of claustrophobia as he experiences it in this village penned in by the sea, the mountains, the snow and ice and also by the descriptions of the scenery and the isolation as the villagers are trapped in their community by an avalanche.  The mystery itself is written more in the style of a classic Golden Age whodunnit than a thriller.  On the whole, this is very well done and an enjoyable read.

Three Mystery Reads

These are three of my latest reads.  The Loving Husband was a book mentioned in The English Kindle Mystery Group, it probably falls most closely into the domestic thriller category and is meant to lean on the popularity of the bestsellers of that genre.  The opening was good, the wife finding her husband’s body at their farmhouse in the isolated fens while an unidentified man looks on.  The home is not being described as a “charming farmhouse” but instead gives a feeling of desolation and decrepitude lending to the atmosphere of the novel.

The mystery was intriguing and I just had to know what happened, who killed the husband and why, what were his secrets, why did all this come about.  That was primarily what pushed me through the book.  I had an issue  with the protagonist, Fran.  She just seemed willfully ignorant of anything to do with her husband.  It didn’t even seem like her husband had to try very hard to keep his secrets.  She was a difficult protagonist to feel empathy for, even though obviously, she has been done wrong by her husband and is now being treated horribly by the police. At the end her husband’s “secret” was difficult to buy into, but the book did wrap up all the plot points.  I gave this 3 out of 5 stars, because of atmosphere and the fact it did keep me turning the pages.

Dear Daughter is along the lines of That Night by Chevy Stevens.  Dear Daughter concerns a celebrity who has just been released from prison on a technicality.  She had been serving a long sentence for the brutal murder of her mother.  She decides that she will always have the murder of her mother hanging over her head until she who her mother really was before she was a celebrity,  who really killed her and why her mother implicated her with her dying actions.  A well done mystery with Janie Jenkins following coded clues from her dead mother, uncovering secrets from years long gone by and secrets that are following her around in the present day.  My only issue with this book is the  ending.  It made no sense to me and it is the resolution of Janie’s story, so now I feel that I have no closure for Janie. sigh

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart is a historical fiction based on a real event, in the sense it was inspired by a news article titled Girl Waits with Gun.  A local mystery book club is reading this for April because it takes place in New Jersey and mentions recognizable places.  I was skeptical that I would enjoy this because I’m not a big historical fiction reader and it is not really a mystery.  The reader knows from the start who did what, Miss Kopp just has to set out to prove it and get the law to take her seriously and press charges.

There is a lot humorous elements here, which make it quite enjoyable to read and the Kopp sisters are great characters, brave, loyal and intelligent.  Determined to be independent of men at a time that was not such an easy thing to do.  It took me a little while to get into the book, but once I did I read the rest in one sitting.    The power that factory owners wielded at that time was well illustrated with discussions of the terrorizing strikers, company owned housing, blacklisting, etc.   The ending of the book lends itself to the start of a series in great way and I would be interested in reading another book featuring Constance Kopp.