Like Christie, he is interested in recurring currents in human nature — greed, solipsism, destructive desire — which Ari Thor has to discern among the lies and distractions thrown up by suspects. Winterkill is a fine end to the Dark Iceland series, reworking the traditional crime novel in a way that effortlessly blends the alien and the familiar. If Iceland missed out on the Golden Age of crime writing, the country — and Jonasson — is certainly making up for it now.
Ragnar Jonasson’s policeman — who lost his parents early in life — is something of a cold fish (one of his favourite snacks). Over time he has come “to expect the worst of people, rather than the best”, yet, as he interviews the dead girl’s mother and various suspects, his humanity shines through. The result is a sinister “twisted tragedy”. If one sentence epitomises the series it’s this: “Alone in the darkness, trapped in a maelstrom of memories.” Even so there is a happy ending — of sorts.