Arnaldur Indridason

Although the books appear on the Library shelves under 'I', history graduate and ex-journalist turned film critic Arnaldur Indriðason's novels featuring Detective Erlendur should be shelved under 'A' since the notional surname is, in fact a patronymic rather than a family name and he should be referred to as Arnaldur. Maybe if he didn't have such an extensive list of titles, several of which I've read previously but not commented on I might have been inclined to go with the correct practice.

I might be wrong, but at least I know where to look….


  • Outrage (2008) where Detective Elinborg is left in charge of matters while Erlendur is away in a remote part of Iceland. I’d read most of the preceding titles in the series without recording the details, and while this investigation into the death of a young man who has been found in his flat with his throat cut intertwines with personal issues involving Elinborg and her family reads easily enough I’m not anxiously scanning the horizon for the sequel. Quality Nordic crime, but not essential reading.
Black Skies.jpg

Black Skies (2012, but published in Iceland in 2009). Set in pre-crash Iceland in 2005, with Erlendur away on an extended and ominous trip to the east of the country, and Elinborg working on the case described in Outrage, Sigurdur Óli is drawn into what appears, at first to be a rather straightforward case of blackmail gone wrong.

Approached by Patrekur, an old school friend, Sigurdur Óli is inveigled into delivering some unofficial assistance to help Patrekur's sister-in-law, who has political ambitions, and her husband, who are allegedly being blackmailed after becoming involved in a wife-swapping circle. Sigurdur Óli visits the blackmailers' home, blundering into the middle of a brutal attack, which subsequently develops into a murder investigation.

That investigation is the strand that holds the story together, but as you'd expect there are other elements that interact with it, including Sigurdur Óli's breakup with his long-time partner and the actions of Anders, a derelict alcoholic who who regularly appears at the police station, looking for Erlendur and babbling about an evil man who has ruined his life and although the priggish Sigurdur Óli has little sympathy for such people he is drawn into an attempt to help him.

Sigurdur Óli has never been a likeable character, but as that strand unfolds it does so in a manner that explains his personal quirks, though you don't (or, at least, I didn't) find yourself liking the man.

But you can understand why he is that way, which is something, and a little more than can be said for the real villains behind the main plot line, some of the lesser players among the new Vikings, who are driving Iceland's on paper economic boom that's on the verge of going bust, ruining the country's economy and the lives of many of its citizens.


Sons of Dust (1997)

Silent Kill (1998)

Tainted Blood, also known as Jar City (2000)

Silence of the Grave (2001)

Voices (2003)

The Draining Lake (2004)

Arctic Chill ( 2005)

Hypothermia (2007)

Other novels:

Operation Napoleon (1999)

Bettý (2003)

The King's Book 2006)

© Ian Hughes 2012