Although the rate of violent crime in Iceland remains mercifully low, the last few years have witnessed a rapid increase of crime fiction not only being written by Icelandic authors, but also Icelandic crime fiction being translated into other languages. An interesting statistic from an article published in The Iceland Review in 2008 notes that “Since 1997 over 70 crime novels have been published by Icelandic authors (relative to population, that’s the equivalent of 15,000 crime novels being published every year in the UK).” Given Iceland’s evocative landscape and relative isolation, it is perhaps surprising that there haven’t been more crime novels written by non-Icelanders. Perhaps, then, Frozen Assets by English author Quentin Bates (who has lived in Iceland for ten years and speaks the language fluently) is a sign of things to come. The novel is the first in a series of crime novels starring Officer Gunnhildur and centers around the discovery of a body in the harbor of a rural Icelandic fishing village.
The novel’s setting seems appropriate, given Bates’ experience working as “netmaker, factory hand and trawlerman” and his job as a “a full-time journalist [and] a feature writer for an obscure nautical trade magazine,” which is, he goes on to explain, “a dream job for anyone who gets a kick out of visiting industrial estates and tiny harbours miles from anywhere.”
Bodes for some entertaining reading very soon…
For more on Bates or his other writing projects, check out his website, Graskeggur (which means “Graybeard” in Icelandic).