1987. An isolated farm house in the east of Iceland.
The snowstorm should have shut everybody out. But it didn’t.
The couple should never have let him in. But they did.
An unexpected guest, a liar, a killer. Not all will survive the night. And Detective Hulda will be haunted forever . . .
And so we come to the end…or indeed the beginning as the Hidden Iceland series concludes at the very start of Hulder’s story. This is her story told backwards throughout the three books and we finally get to see why she reacts the way she does in her previous cases. She’s a wonderfully crafted character and the development that has taken place to bring her to this conclusion has been just perfect. Please do read the books in the order in which they were written as, although this is a journey told backwards, you will get far more from the series this way and have a greater understanding of one of my most favourite characters in recent years.
My first thought when I was reading The Mist was that it reminded me of something! It took me a while to realise that it was the Agatha Christie play “The Mousetrap”. A couple stuck at home during a terrible snowstorm suddenly hear a knock at the door and a stranger appears there seeking refuge from the storm. And it was that scenario that brought to mind the The Mousetrap which is one of my very favourite Christie stories (if you’ve never seen it by the way I highly recommend you do!). I know that Ragnar Jónasson is also a huge fan and this homage to that scene brought goosebumps to my whole body! What happens next though is pure Ragnar and the plot twists in such an organically pleasing way that I physically sighed with pleasure when it all came together.
Throughout the storyline we also see Hulder at home with her family and the realisation that something isn’t right. We know from the previous books how this plot point has concluded but it doesn’t take away from the uncomfortable circumstances that are taking place and that will lead to a devastating tragedy for Hulder. I wanted to jump between the pages to stop the events from unraveling as the tension increased, steamrolling it’s way towards that awful, life changing moment. And the fact that this was happening at what should have been such a happy time of year for families. I loved that contrast and the way Ragnar used the beautiful Icelandic holiday traditions as a backdrop to both of the plot threads in The Mist. Reading and books take centre stage during the Christmas celebrations and The Mist gives us the opportunity to learn more the traditions of the Icelandic community-one that I think should be rolled out to everyone that loves books!
I’m quite sad that this series has now come to an end but I did end up reading it all again (one book after the other) over one weekend and I know that I will reread it again in the future. It’s just so beautifully written and the translation by Victoria Cribb here has certainly helped to make it the best it could possibly be. I highly recommend this series!
RAGNAR JONASSON was born in Iceland and works as an Attorney at Law and writer in Reykjavik. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. Ragnar is the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir. He has appeared on panels at various crime fiction festivals, including Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime in the US. Ragnar lives in Reykjavik with his wife and two daughters.