Girls Who Lie is the second novel in the FORBIDDEN ICELAND series
The Icelandic Police team of criminal investigators include:
Hörður Höskuldsson – leader of the Akranes Criminal Investigation Division. With many local connections, he is in charge of the entire Western Region of Iceland. Hörður often cycles to work and is not famous for his punctuality. He has been very distracted as of late. His beloved wife is undergoing treatment for cancer.
Elma – Recently returned to her home town of Akranes after her partner of nine years took his own life. She worked in Reykjavik in the CID and now joins the Akranes team. Just thirty-three years old, she is lonely and introverted, but work-obsessed – she is a brilliant investigator. Elma is having an affair with her neighbour, yet secretly is attracted to her partner at work, Sævar.
Sævar – A detective on the CID and Elma’s work partner. Sævar has just ended a long relationship.
Begga – verbose, single, and mother to an orange tabby cat, Begga is Elma’s only female friend and makes only a small appearance this time out.
Elma’s latest case proves challenging. A body of a woman was found is a small cave by two boys playing near the lava fields. They discover it is the body of Marianne, a woman who disappeared seven months ago.
Ever since reading “The Creak On The Stairs” I’ve been anxious to revisit these characters. “Girls Who Lie” was a worthy successor and was a sound police procedural crime novel.
With a vividly described setting, this novel had a strong sense of place. It is set in the author’s homeland, and her affection shows.
The narrative was told via dual time-lines. The police and their investigation, interspersed with a narrative of a mother and daughter.
Like with the first excellent book in this series, I struggled with the difficult Icelandic names. To my untrained English ear, I couldn’t even sound them out, which at times made it hard to keep some of the characters straight in my mind. This is entirely my own fault, and in no way reflects negatively upon the book. Names like Guðrún Snæbjörnsdóttir don’t exactly roll off the tongue… This time out, the author generously attached a pronunciation guide.
The protagonist, Elma, was a sympathetic character, though she had her own flaws and baggage, as do we all. She seemed ‘down to earth’ and ‘what you see is what you get’. In this novel we learn more of Elma’s family life with her parents, sister, and young nephews.
The murder investigation moves very slowly at first, then some rather surprising twists ramp up the pace. With themes of parenting, psychopathy, collusion, lies, and more, this story was well written and compelling with some dark secrets exposed near the end.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for the third novel in this series. Recommended to those who enjoy Icelandic noir.
I purchased this novel in Kindle format from Amazon.ca
It was published by Orenda Books in May of 2021.Publication date: May 28, 2020 Publisher: Orenda Books
ISBN: 9781913193737 ASIN: B08PHMXN6N 348 pages
Born in Akranes, Iceland in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study my MSc in Globalisation when she was 25. After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel.
Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland.
Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel. The book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller.
Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík, staying at home with her youngest until she begins Kindergarten.
About the Translator
Victoria Cribb studied and worked in Iceland for many years. She has translated more than 25 novels from the Icelandic and, in 2017, she received the Orðstír honourary translation award for services to Icelandic literature.