#Blogtour The Girl in the Photo by Heidi Amsinck

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Girl in the Photo by Heidi Amsinck. This is the second book in the Jensen series.

About the Author

Heidi Amsinck is a writer and a journalist born in Copenhagen now living in London. She was London Correspondent for the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten. She has written many stories for BBC Radio 4, all read by Tim McInnerny. She was previously shortlisted for the VS Pritchett Memorial Prize. My Name is Jensen, her first thriller, was published to critical acclaim in 2021 and has been translated into Danish and German. Follow @HeidiAmsinck1 on Twitter, Visit heidiamsinck.co.uk

About the book

When ninety-year-old Irene Valborg is found brutally murdered in an affluent suburb of Copenhagen, her diamond necklace missing, it looks like a burglary gone wrong. When two more victims are attacked, the police lament a rise in violence against the elderly, but who is the young girl in the photo found by DI Henrik Jungersen on the scenes of crime? 

Impatient to claim her inheritance, Irene’s daughter hires former Dagbladet reporter Jensen and her teenage apprentice Gustav to find the necklace. Henrik finds himself once more pitched in a quest for the truth against Jensen – the one woman in Copenhagen he is desperate to avoid.


This is the second book in the Scandinavian Crime series Jensen, both books can be read as standalone novels, however I would recommend reading the first in the series – it’s a great read and you get a better gist of how Jensen and Henrik got to the point they are at in this book.

It begins with the brutal death of an elderly woman, the theft of expensive jewellery, and the photo of a young girl that seems to link further crimes. DI Henrik Jungersen is tasked with investigating, bit the daughter of the elderly woman believes the police are dragging their feet – enter Jensen from stage left to help solve the crime. 

The involvement of Jensen complicates matters for Henrik who is actively trying to remain out of her very enticing orbit, or is he? Indeed she keeps popping up as further crimes seem to suggest an insidious link between what appear to be unrelated events.

Henrik might need to accept the fact he has a wee bit of an obsession with Jensen. Making up scenarios and situations in his head – the attempt to restrict his fantasy and desires, whilst simultaneously pushing them forward. Being privy to his alleged wish to repair the damage to his existing relationship with his wife gives the reader a certain impression, but does he really want to repair it? Is he trying to convince us or himself? Is it just me or does it wander into the realms of something more than just being attracted to Jensen. If Henrik was anyone other than an upstanding police officer, would it be more than unrequited passion? Hmm, I wonder.

I kind of enjoy the whole imbalance and element of the who is the main driver or character of this story. It says Jensen on the box, and yet Henrik is right up there leading the way, whilst Jensen gets the space and time to expand upon the more elusive and intriguing air surrounding her persona. In fact it’s probably the instability of each of them in their own way that draws the reader in.

I like the fact the author doesn’t rely on the previous success and path forged by the characters in book one. Instead the is a very conscious effort to delver not only a riveting read, but also create pathways for further development. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

Buy The Girl in the Photo at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎Muswell Press pub date 28 July 2022. Buy at Amazon com.  

BlogTour Cold As Hell by by Lilja Sigurðardóttir,

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Cold As Hell by by Lilja Sigurðardóttir, translated by Quentin Bates.

‘With rights sold in 14 countries, Cold as Hell is the first in the riveting, atmospheric and beautifully plotted five-book series. An Áróra Investigation, from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.’

About the Author

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurðardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, her English debut shortlisting for the CWA International Dagger and hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Trap soon followed suit, with the third in the trilogy Cage winning the Best Icelandic Crime Novel of the Year, and was a Guardian Book of the Year. 

Lilja’s standalone Betrayal, was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja is also an award-winning screenwriter in her native Iceland. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Follow @lilja1972  on Twitter, Visit liljawriter.com

About the book

Estranged sisters Áróra and Ísafold live in different countries, and are not on speaking terms. When their mother loses contact with Ísafold, Áróra reluctantly returns to Iceland to look for her. But she soon realizes that her sister isn’t avoiding her … she has disappeared, without a trace.

As she confronts Ísafold’s abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend Björn, and begins to probe her sister’s reclusive neighbours – who have their own reasons for staying out of sight – Áróra is drawn into an ever-darker web of intrigue and manipulation.

Baffled by the conflicting details of her sister’s life, and blinded by the shiveringly bright midnight sun of the Icelandic summer, Áróra enlists the help of police officer Daníel, to help her track her sister’s movements, and tail Björn. But she isn’t the only one watching…


Historically Áróra and Ísafold have had a bit of a bumpy ride as sisters. They have become disconnected from each other, and yet old loyalties and the need to protect is never far from the surface. When Ísafold disappears Áróra feels she owes it to her big sister to help, despite the fact she has ignored her attempts in the past, and has repeatedly returned to a bad personal situation.

This book is the first in a new series, and it looks like it’s going to be a humdinger of a popular one. Whether intentionally or not the author has given this book a different style – it’s still Scandi noir, but it’s darker. There is an almost staccato like approach to the chapters and characters, and the main characters swim silently between black and white in the greyish areas of conscience and guilt.

Adding the almost anonymous quality of the perpetrator gives readers the sense of this could be me or you, which is also exactly what happens with the ethical aspect of the crime in this story. If you weigh the scales of punishment and justice – what would you do?

I think this is Sigurðardóttir’s best work so far. She’s risen above the expectations of the genre and given it what I believe to be her individual style writing voice, and I think it’s just the beginning. I am looking forward to where this series is going to take us.

Buy Cold As Hell at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books, pub date 28 October 2021 |  Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Girls Who Lie by by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, translated by Victoria Cribb.

About the Author

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva Björg Ægisdóttir studied for an MSc in Globalisation in Norway before returning to Iceland and deciding to write a novel – something she had wanted to do since she won a short-story competition at the age of fifteen. After nine months combining her writing with work as a stewardess and caring for her children, Eva finished The Creak on the Stairs. 

It was published in 2018, and became a bestseller in Iceland. It also went on to win the Blackbird Award, a prize set up by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Ragnar Jónasson to encourage new Icelandic crime writers. It was published in English by Orenda Books in 2020. Eva lives in Reykjavík with her husband and three children and is currently working on the third book in the Forbidden Iceland series. 

Follow @evaaegisdottir on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreads

About the Translator

Victoria Cribb is one of Icelandic literature’s best-known translators into English, working with Arnaldur Indriðason, Sjón, and Gyrðir Elíasson, among others. She became interested in Iceland as a teenager and taught herself the language with a 1948 Linguaphone set.

About the book

When single mother Maríanna disappears from her home, leaving an apologetic note on the kitchen table, it is assumed that she’s taken her own life – until her body is found on the Grábrók lava fields seven months later, clearly the victim of murder. Her neglected fifteen-year-old daughter Hekla has been placed in foster care, but is her perfect new life hiding something sinister?

Fifteen years earlier, a desperate new mother lies in a maternity ward, unable to look at her own child, the start of an odd and broken relationship that leads to tragedy.

Police officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case, which becomes increasingly complex, as the list of suspects grows ever longer and new light is shed on Maríanna’s past – and the childhood of a girl who never was like the others…


This is the second book in the Forbidden Iceland series and whilst both books can be read as standalone novels I highly recommend reading the first –  The Creak on the Stairs. 

The story begins with a homicide, a less than perfect mother is found dead – is it suicide or something more nefarious? Elma starts to reconstruct the dysfunctional family structure and ties, which leads her in unusual directions. What kind of person treats her child like a hateful mistake? It’s a multi-layered story with plenty of areas that are neither black or white. Imperfect people with perfect little secrets, the kind of secrets that destroy people.

I was actually quite interested by the fact both books are very much individual experiences, despite some of Elma’s personal experiences and history flowing into this one. To the point where I had actually forgotten the connection. It’s the kind of book, and series, that makes a readers want to go back to the beginning, because you will almost certainly miss something the first time round.

It has the same noirish dark vibe that is tinged with an element of suppressed rage, frustration and despair. Ægisdóttir doesn’t shy away from speaking truths to the side of motherhood society likes to ignore to a certain extent. It isn’t all rainbows and daisies, sometimes it can trigger hormonal responses, and of course there are just some people who shouldn’t be mothers or parents at all. It’s a kaleidoscope of human emotions and mistakes, which bounce of each other to deliver a captivating read.

Buy Girls Who Lie at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books, pub date 22 July 2021 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Winterkill by Ragnar Jónasson

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Winterkill by Ragnar Jónasson. This fabulous Orenda blogtour is breaking for Xmas and will be continued on the 5th of January – don’t miss the rest of the stops on the tour.

About the Author

Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, and currently works as a lawyer, while teacher copyright law at the Reykjavík University Law School. In the past, he’s worked in TV and radio, including as a news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had several short stories published in German, English and Icelandic literary magazines. 

Ragnar set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) in Reykjavík, and is co-founder of the International crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. Ragnar’s debut thriller, Snowblind became an almost instant bestseller when it was published in June 2015n with Nightblind (winner of the Dead Good Reads Most Captivating Crime in Translation Award) and then Blackout, Rupture and Whiteout following soon after. To date, Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland series, which has been optioned for TV by On the Corner. He lives in Reykjavík with his wife and two daughters.

Follow @ragnarjo @OrendaBooks on Twitter, on Goodreadsragnarjonassonwriter on Facebook, Visit ragnarjonasson.comBuy Winterkill

About the book

Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes.

Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air.

Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local nursing home writes ‘She was murdered’ again and again on the wall of his room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death…

As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible  truth … one that will leave no one unscathed.

Chilling, claustrophobic and disturbing, Winterkill marks the startling conclusion to the million-copy bestselling Dark Iceland series and cements Ragnar Jónasson as one of the most exciting authors in crime fiction.


This is the sixth and final part of the Dark Iceland series featuring Ari Thór. It can be read as a standalone crime novel, as can all the others in the series, however I would recommend the other books purely for reading pleasure. 

In this book Ari Thór is called to the scene of a tragic accident. A young girl has fallen to her death, which seems to have been of her own volition until questions begin to float to the surface and the police inspector wonders whether someone helped her fall. At the same time he is trying to navigate the painful and uncomfortable reality of co-parenting his young son, and not knowing whether he should fight for his relationship with the woman he loves.

I wish this weren’t the end of this atmospheric and dark series. Jónasson has built his character and settings in a way that parallels progression in life and sometimes it’s the right thing to leave and let be. It isn’t necessarily the end of Ari Thór’s story, actually perhaps it is a beginning, but it is the end of the road for the readers who have followed his progression.

Jónasson has this strangely captivating ability to draw the reader in with an almost soothing approach to crime. The surroundings add to the feeling of being simultaneously fascinated and burdened by the landscape, by the inability of a man unable to connect emotionally on a level that makes him happy. We plod along with him as he stumbles through life and crime with an almost accidental accuracy at times. It’s charming and dark all at the same time.

One can only hope the author will return to Ari Thór one day, perhaps an older version made cynical by his experiences and yet still comfortable, because he feels at home and at peace. One can only hope.

Buy Winterkill at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop orgWaterstonesAt Orendabooks.co.uk.

#BlogTour Betrayal by Lilja Sigurðardóttir

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour by Lilja Sigurðardóttir – translated by Quentin Bates.

About the Author

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, including Snare, Trap and Cage, making up the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Follow @lilja1972 on Twitter on Goodreads, Visit liljawriter.comBuy Betrayal 

About the book

Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Ursula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again.

But on her first day in the post, Úrsula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Úrsula could ever have imagined. A homeless man is stalking her – but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And the death of her father in police custody so many years rears its head once again.

As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witchlike cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones,  and the stakes are raised ever higher…


Ursula is offered a dream job. A job that comes with risks, threats and dangerous political machinations. It puts her in her danger and she hasn’t thought about the fact it could put her family at risk too. She becomes drawn into the schemes of others and is also being threatened by an unstable man. simultaneously she wants to help a mother to bring the rapist of her daughter to justice.

This is Scandi Noir – crime fiction, but the author weaves a more important element throughout the story, one that is usually brought into connection with soldiers and veterans. Civilians, victims and bystanders can also suffer repercussions from witnessing the horrors of war, crime or pandemics.

It has caused an emotional disconnect between Ursula and those closest to her – they don’t don’t know that though. Her husband can’t quite put a finger on it, this feeling of distance or pretense, but she knows. The flashbacks, the triggers, the sense of displacement and of living in the past, which often interferes with the present.

Sigurðardóttir writes a gripping story, one that takes the reader on a bumpy ride of hidden crimes and monsters lurking in plain. Of course setting the tale in the world of cutthroat politics makes it even more intriguing, because it is ruthless and full of betrayals. Power games built on patriarchal rules and driven by misogyny and sexism. Using the little woman as a pawn, because she is always going to be dispensable. It’s a fast-paced gripping read.

Buy Betrayal at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher Orenda Books: Publication date: 15 October 2020 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Orendabooks.

Read my reviews of SnareCage and Trap by Lilja Sigurðardóttir.

#BlogTour The Creak on the Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir

Apparently trying to be more organised has resulted in more disorganisation on my part, so here is the post that was supposed to go out yesterday. Either way it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Creak on the Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, translated by Victoria Cribb.About the Author

Born in Akranes 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.

Follow @evaaegisdottir on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreads, on Facebook, Buy The Creak on the Stairs

creak on the stairs3

About the book

The first in the electrifying new Forbidden Iceland series, The Creak on the Stairs is an exquisitely written, claustrophobic and chillingly atmospheric debut thriller by one of Iceland’s most exciting new talents.

When the body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area. Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day…

But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it ’s too late.


Elma has returned home to Akranes, because of a failed long-term relationship. Back to her parents, her friends and the quiet rural town of her childhood. When the body of a woman is discovered near a local lighthouse the investigation into her death begins to uncover some uncomfortable truths about the men and women she has known her entire life.

The investigation is impeded by her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, one of whom has other things on his mind and the other is determined to undermine the case by protecting certain bigwigs in town. Do they have something to hide?

Meanwhile Elma follows the path and story of the victim all the way back to her childhood. A childhood that appears to be filled with darkness, fear and pain. One that all the adults around her chose to ignore instead of helping her.

It’s a riveting crime read – a story of damaged souls and secrets buried so deep not everyone wants them uncovered.

Although it’s certainly an ending that is controversial in its own way it’s also one that is based in reality and very much one of our time. The futility and frustration is balanced out by complacency and an intrinsic need for certain truths to remain hidden. What matters the truth when the victims can no longer speak for themselves or reputations may be sullied? What matters justice when the deed has been buried in decades of lies, misdirection and denial?

It’s a driven and captivating read, not only due to the excellent plotting, but also because the author doesn’t present readers with a character or victim to root for per se. Instead it’s a case of perfect imperfections, which of course is the reality of life. We are all flawed in some way – some more than others. The question in this piece is whether those flaws excuse the deed or does the deed cause the flaw, and in doing so set a series of tragic events in motion?

This is the first in the Forbidden Iceland series and can’t wait to read the next in the series. Elma is more of a ‘I can feel it in my gut – and fly by the seat of her pants gal’ which makes for an interesting sleuth, especially when combined with the atmospheric feel of this Icelandic Noir.

Buy The Creak on the Stairs at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; pub date 14 Mar. 2020. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Orendabooks.co.uk

#BlogTour Cage by Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Cage, the last part of the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy, by Lilja Sigurdardóttir.

About the Author

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, including Snare and Trap, the first two books in the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Follow @lilja1972 on Twitter, on Goodreads,  Visit liljawriter.com

About the book

A masterful conclusion to the award-winning, critically acclaimed Reykjavík Noir trilogy, as drug-smuggling, financial crime, political intrigue, love, murder and betrayal come together.

The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence for financial misconduct ends, but her lover Sonja is not there to meet her. As a group of foreign businessmen tries to draw Agla into an ingenious fraud that stretches from Iceland around the world, Agla and her former nemesis María find the stakes being raised at a terrifying speed. Ruthless entrepreneur Ingimar will stop at nothing to protect his empire, but he has no idea about the powder keg he is sitting on in his own home. And at the same time, a deadly threat to Sonja and her family brings her from London back to Iceland, where she needs to settle scores with longstanding adversaries if she wants to stay alive…

The lives of these characters are about to collide in a shocking crescendo, until the winner takes it all…Review

Cage can be read as a standalone novel, although I would suggest reading the previous two books in this trilogy, Trap and Snare, to get the full gist of the series. Whilst the majority of the two previous books in this trilogy focus on the character of Sonja, especially Snare, this one sees Agla and Maria take more of a centre stage.

Although the vibe of this book is perhaps slightly less ruthless, there is just as much wheeling, dealing and criminal activity. Agla is still wanted for her talents in corporate and financial crime, although I think it’s fair to say Agla’s relationship with Sonja and her stint in prison have changed her outlook on life.

It’s interesting how Sonja has morphed, during the duration of the trilogy, into the person her nemesis wanted her to be. She has become more brusque and ruthless or is it just her willingness to do anything she can to save her family and herself? To do that she has to make some uncomfortable decisions, which include her relationship with Agla.

It’s Scandinavian Noir, a corporate, financial and urban crime trilogy with feisty, but not necessarily sympathetic characters. Sigurdardóttir brings this series to a strangely comforting conclusion, perhaps not the one some readers may have expected, given how harsh some of the scenarios have been, but a conclusion nonetheless.

This author has a talent for bringing the underbelly of crime as it pertains to the small fish and those without sociopathic tendencies to the table. The result is the kind of crime read that is as unpredictable and at times as dark and unforgiving as crime itself.

Buy Cage at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; Publication Date: 17 October 2019 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Orenda.

Read my reviews of Snare and Trap by Lilja

cage 2019 (1)

#BlogTour Evil Things by Katja Ivar

Today it’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Evil Things by Katja Ivar. It’s a fascinating combo of Cold War political thriller with a hint of Scandi noir and a riveting murder mystery.

About the Author

Katja Ivar grew up in Russia and the U.S. She travelled the world extensively, from Almaty to Ushuaia, from Karelia to Kyushu, before finally settling in Paris where she lives with her husband and three children. She received a B.A. in Linguistics and a master’s degree in Contemporary History from Sorbonne University. Evil Things is her debut novel.

Follow @KatjaIvar @bitterlemonpub 

Buy Evil Things

About the book

Lapland, Finland, 1952. It’s the height of the Cold War and Finland is a snow-smothered powder keg. Sharing a long border with the Soviet Union the country is engaged in a high-wire act of protecting its independence from its sometimes dangerous neighbour. 

Hella Mauzer is the first female Inspector in the Helsinki Homicide Unit. Or was, until she was deemed too ‘emotional’ for the job and reassigned to Lapland. When a man disappears from a remote village on the Soviet border, Hella jumps at the chance to investigate. Her boss is sceptical; after all, people disappear in the snows of Finland all the time. Then a body is found. But the small village of Käärmela is harbouring a second crime. A crime whose evil is of another magnitude.


I can imagine some readers may be inclined to overlook this book because the title suggests something more along the genre of horror. Luckily the blurb allays any such notion, because this is the perfect book for lovers of Scandinavian crime and Cold War fiction to dip into.

I’ll admit it took me by surprise. It is well-written and plotted with a fantastically obnoxious and eccentric main character. I think Hella Mauzer might be my grumpy soul spirit living in the type of freezing environment I would never venture into or live in.

One of the most annoying and most poignant points the author makes in the story is the second-class status of females in the police force during more than the first half of the twentieth century. Women were perceived, as is Mauzer, to be too emotional and fragile to work as effective police officers. They certainly weren’t allowed anywhere near a crime scene. Good gosh, they might cry or be overwhelmed with emotions. They should be at home making babies and baking cookies, waiting for their partners, who clearly have to be chosen by other people, because hey we all know women weren’t capable of making lucid choices for their own future. ‘Sigh.’

Those kind of attitudes are enough to drive anyone to become withdrawn or spend a lifetime pretending to be something they aren’t. They certainly do nothing for the career Hella wants to expand and enjoy. Instead she is blocked, deterred and insulted at every opportunity by the colleagues who should have her back, which leaves her in dangerous situations at times.

Unlike her male colleagues, Hella has a nose for crime. She has a gut instinct for things that just don’t seem quite right, but gut instinct just screams women’s intuition to her boss, which means he ignores her observations.

She heads up to an isolated area in Lapland to investigate the disappearance of a man, after his young grandson is found cold and hungry in their cabin. Everything Hella finds out suggests she would never leave the boy alone for six days, well not voluntarily. So, where the heck is he?

It’s a fascinating combination of Cold War political games with a hint of Scandi Noir, and a riveting murder mystery. The main character and the way she reacts to her environment and other people is what gives this read a flair of eccentric humour. You can almost imagine her stomping off into the cold or interviewing suspects with her brusque and less than charming manner.

I commend Ivar for coming up with a character who has to try and solve crimes within the constraints of misogyny and misguided misconceptions. She is without a doubt a writer to watch out for.

Buy Evil Things on Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press, pub date 11 Jan 2019

Visit bitterlemonpress.com and Buy Evil Things

#BlogTour Last Train to Helsingør by Heidi Amsinck

Today it’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTourLast Train to Helsingør by Heidi Amsinck. It’s a collection of short tales of Scandinavian Noir with a huge dollop of spooky and a smidgen of creepy.

About the Author

Heidi Amsinck, a writer and journalist born in Copenhagen, spent many years covering Britain for the Danish press, including a spell as London Correspondent for the broadsheet daily Jyllands- Posten. She has written numerous short stories for radio, including the three-story sets Danish Noir Copenhagen Confidential and Copenhagen Curios, all produced by Sweet Talk for BBC Radio 4, which are included in this collection .

A graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London, Heidi lives in Surrey. She was previously shortlisted for the VS Pritchett Memorial Prize. Last Train to Helsingor is her first published collection of stories.

Follow @HeidiAmsinck1 @MuswellPress on Twitter

Buy Last Train to Helsingør

About the book

From the commuter who bitterly regrets falling asleep on a late-night train, to the mushroom hunter prepared to kill to guard her secret, Last Train to Helsingor is a chilling and darkly humorous collection of stories.

Copenhagen becomes a city of twilight and shadows, as canny antique dealers and property sharks get their comeuppance at the hands of old ladies, and ghosts act in most peculiar ways. With echoes of Daphne du Maurier, Roald Dahl and the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, Last Train to Helsingor will keep you awake into the small hours.

Q&A with Heidi Amsinck  (provided by Muswell Press)

The stories are all set in Denmark and all have a fairy-tale like quality to them. Is there a Danish tradition of ghost stories that you are influenced by? Having grown up in Denmark, the romantic, bitter-sweet stories of Hans Christian Andersen are indelibly printed on my psyche. However, as a young child I preferred the gothic horror of Grimm’s fairy tales, which I swallowed raw, poring wide-eyed over the original illustrations by Philipp Grot Johann and Robert Leinweber. There is an echo of these fairy tales in the work of Karen Blixen, particularly the story collections Seven Gothic Tales and Anecdotes of Destiny, which have a deliciously mystic and eerie quality to them, and are the books I would save first if my house was on fire. But the biggest, single influence on my work has undeniably been the British TV series of Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected, broadcast with subtitles in Denmark in the early 1980s. I never missed an episode.

What is it that appeals to you about the short-story format? I love the discipline of working towards a single moment of revelation, or epiphany, the deceptive simplicity of the format that requires months, sometimes years, of stripping back dead wood and random plot shoots, or at least trying to. Above all, I am an enthusiastic and humble reader of short stories, from Carver and Wolff to Chekhov and Maupassant. The perfect short story (see Flannery O’Connor’s Good Country People or James Joyce’s The Dead) will floor you with a single blow, in a way no novel can.

You are Danish and yet you wrote the stories in English. Why is that? I like the freedom English gives me to invent stuff about my place of birth: the Copenhagen of my stories is very much an imagined one, conjured from childhood memories and my love of mystery and darkness; writing in English, I am able to look at the city from a distance, noticing its otherness, like a stranger might.

Which is your favourite story in the collection and why? There is a bit of me and my large Danish family in each and every story in this collection, but The Chanterelles of Østvig is particularly personal to me, as it was inspired by my father who taught me the secrets of mushroom hunting in Denmark’s great sand dune plantations. He passed away suddenly last summer, two days after my mother died from cancer. Childhood sweethearts from Copenhagen, they were in love for 65 years, and this collection is dedicated to them.


My first thought, and this was before I read a Q&A with Amsinck, was how much these tales reminded me of The Tales of the Unexpected (TV series from 1979 – 1988). A lot of the episodes were based on short stories written by Roald Dahl. The script writers often wrote endings or conclusions to the tales for the audience, whereas the stories they were based on were more inconclusive, open and mysterious. I grew up watching The Tales of the Unexpected, and much like the Hammer House of Horror and Graham Greene tales, the episodes were incredibly creepy and stuck in your mind for ages.

Although the author has taken inspiration from certain sources it is fair to say that she has put her very own Scandinavian Noir slant on her tales. No tale is alike except for the unusual twists and creepy factor. Now and again there is also a question of justice, morality and whether everything is always black or white.

The book includes the following tales:

Last Train to Helsingør – I bet there are plenty of people who sit on trains and wonder whether that train will end up taking them somewhere unexpected. You get a sense of lack of control, as you watch houses and fields whizz by, perhaps even more so when you can see nothing but darkness through the glass windows.

The Music Box – Sometimes a curse isn’t just a collection of rumours, hearsay or Chinese Whispers repeated over decades. Sometimes a duck is just a duck, and a curse is really a curse.

The Chanterelles of Østvig – Gudrun Holm has a conundrum. She must share her secrets with someone before she dies, and yet at the same time she has to protect said secrets from ever being found out.

The Light from Dead Stars – This is one of my favourites too. Does the truth always have to come out? Are there people who deserve their destiny even if it is forced upon them? Is it always wrong to take things into your own hands?

The Man Upstairs – Do you know a man or woman upstairs? I bet if you thought about it for a while someone would come to mind. A person who has always been there throughout time – with no explanation as to how it may be possible. In fact I might just go look in the upstairs window to see if I can get a glimpse of his face.

Conning Mrs Vinterberg – You can’t con a con-artist or trick a possible serial killer, especially ones that look like friendly little old ladies.

The Night Guard – The next time you go to an art gallery pay more attention to the details, perhaps some small element of the paintings change without you ever realising it.

The Bird in the Cage – I enjoyed this one, because it speaks to the innate greediness of man (persons). An item is only ever worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Make it more exclusive and add a tale of mystery to the item, and you just might end up paying a million pounds for a picture by an elusive artist which shreds itself as soon as said item is sold. (Nods in the direction of Banksy)

The Miracle in Dannersgarde – When is a miracle really a miracle and when is it just a coincidence? This is a story of faith being born unto the non-believer at a time when she needs it the most.

Like White Rain – Angels come in all shapes and sizes, and in this case it is an old suicidal man and an abused young girl finding comfort and the will to live by helping each other.

The Climbing Rose – This will make you wonder about the meticulous rose gardener you might know. The attention they pay to detail and the lengths they will go to to make the roses grow.

The Wailing Girl – The moral of this story is to never assume you have experienced everything in life and that karma might want to have a word if you try and screw with someone.

Room Service – When someone experiences the inexplicable the majority tend to side with the more practical and logical solution, because there is no such thing as ghosts right?

The Ghost of Helene Jørgensen – This tale is about justice, but it is also about leaving everything behind and starting a new life. Cutting all the strings, both positive and negative, that keep you attached to a life you expected to be more than just a daily struggle to survive.

The Suitcase – This tale is a bit like signing a contract with the devil, except you have no choice in the matter and your heart is dictating your actions. The stringent boundaries of OCD are skewed, which could be a good thing I suppose.

The Tallboy – This one reminded me of the kind of horror the Hammer House stories were known for. The kind of mystery you want to solve, but are really too frightened of the truth to find out.

Detained – What would make you crack? What kind of incident would make you re-evaluate your life and turn your back on everything and everyone? Do you think one scruffy man in an airport could make you think about what is really important in life?

The Crying – I guess the moral of this story is that you deserve what you get, especially if you lied to get it. I wonder if the insanity was already there buried deep inside him or whether the apartment made him do it? Do what…why kill of course.

The Last Tenant – Sometimes there is a reason a deal is a deal. A house that wants to draw you in, but doesn’t really want anyone inside at all. Once you’re in there is only one way out.

I am going to have a listen to these on audio (they have been read on BBC 4 radio). For people like me who as a child used to enjoy tuning in for The Whistler on the radio and being scared before bedtime, these tales will be perfect.

It’s a collection of short tales of Scandinavian Noir with a huge dollop of spooky and a smidgen of creepy.

Buy Last Train to Helsingør at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Muswell Press, Pub date 22 February 2018