The day is Dark by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

I’ve recently mentioned my weakness for the mysterious country of Iceland, in a book review I recently did in Swedish. But I really have special feelings for the place even though I’ve never been there.


My first encounter with a modern Icelandic writer was Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and her debut- Last rituals, which really made me fall head over heels for her style of writing. Even though there is a gloomy atmosphere over Iceland (and that it sometimes rubs off on the characters) there are some tiny sparks of humour in there and I just love the contrast. Unfortunately, Yrsa’s recent books hasn’t been published in Swedish but they are available in English which is great for all you who doesn’t speak Icelandic (which of course includes me).


The storyline

The Day is Dark is the fourth book about the attorney Thóra and the storyline doesn’t actually take place in Iceland, but in Greenland. A mining company in the remote shores of Greenland runs into some troubles when members of the staff suddenly disappear. The natives aren’t willing to help since they are convinced the area is cursed since the original inhabitants all died there almost a hundred years ago.


Thóra arrives at the site with Matthew, her German partner (as in boyfriend, not work companion) and also a representative of the bank that is now about to make a deal with the mining company. Together with a couple of former staff member from the mining company, a doctor and the secretary Bella from Thóra’s law firm, they find themselves right in the middle of a mystery. The group starts to unravel a mystery in the isolated, snowy landscape and they have to deal with the natives’ superstitions and the very stressful and eerie environment.


My final thoughts

One of the things I like the most about Yrsa’s books is that she often interweaves supernatural elements. The reader senses ghosts and whatnots but they actually never make an appearance. It just plays in the mind of the reader even though it is never meant to be taken seriously. Being a fan of both horror movies and books, this tickles my imagination and I really enjoy it even though I really love a good, dry, English detective story any day. By the way, the scenery in The Day is Dark would have been really appreciated by Agatha Christie, I’m sure of that!


Yrsa Sigurðardóttir’s books are not as dark and gloomy as the ones by Arnaldur Indriðason so they might be a good introduction to Icelandic crime stories even though I can recommend them both.

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