The Mist by Ragnar Jónasson (tr. by Victoria Cribb) #BookReview #BlogTour


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 . . .

I am thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for The Mist today. Huge thanks to Ragnar Jónasson and Sriya Varadharajan from Penguin Books for inviting me and for my digital copy of the novel.

The Mist is the final book in Ragnar Jónasson's Hidden Iceland trilogy and as the series is set in reverse chronological order, it's here we finally discover the terrible events that shaped Hulda Hermannsdóttir's life. The prologue, set in February 1988, finds Hulda clearly having undergone some sort of tragedy in her personal life and as she returns to work for the first time, her boss is unsure as to whether she is up to looking into a suspected murder case in the east of the country. She insists that she is and learns that two bodies have recently been discovered in a remote farmhouse but it seems that they've been lying there since at least Christmas.
The story then goes back two months and gradually reveals what led to the double murder. Having advance knowledge of this tragedy and whatever happened to Hulda herself, means there's a sinister sense of foreboding throughout The Mist. The narrative is split between following Hulda who is becoming increasingly concerned about her teenage daughter, Dimma's mood and the couple who lived in the farmhouse, Erla and her husband, Einar. His family have farmed in this inhospitable part of Iceland for years but although Erla went into her marriage knowing that the farm would be handed down to Einar, it becomes obvious that for all the apparent cosiness, she feels dreadfully trapped by her life there. As she prepares for Christmas, the weather takes a turn for the worse and at the time of year when the country is cloaked in near-constant darkness, her overwhelming feeling of hopeless isolation becomes almost palpable. And then there's a knock at their door...
Ragnar Jónasson really is in a class of his own when it comes to using the environment to foster nearly unbearable claustrophobia and melancholic dread. As Erla  grows increasingly concerned that their unexpected visitor, Leó hasn't told them the truth, Hulda also intuitively knows that something is terribly wrong with Dimma. Amidst the festive preparations, the novel switches between the two women who though have completely different lives, know something terrible is going to happen.
I found The Mist to be one of the most tense books I can ever recall reading; it's so atmospheric and so bleak, I read it with a heavy heart as I awaited the inevitable tragedies. The violence mostly occurs off the page but the terror engendered is inescapable and credit must be given here to Victoria Cribb's excellent translation which so perfectly captures the essence of the original writing.
The final part of the novel brings some shocking revelations and though some were more expected than others, the way in which this beautifully intricate and decidedly creepy plot draws everything together is nothing short of masterful. Ragnar Jónasson is a brilliant, brilliant writer and The Mist is superbly immersive crime fiction which encapsulates everything I love about Nordic Noir. Just fabulous! 

The Mist is published by Penguin Books, purchasing links can be found here but please consider supporting independent bookstores by buying from them directly or ordering through

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, Iceland, where he works as a writer and a lawyer and teaches copyright law at Reykjavík University. He has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, and, from the age of seventeen has translated fourteen of Agatha Christie's novels. He is an international Number One bestseller.

About the Translator
Victoria Cribb is a freelance translator of Icelandic literature. Her translations of Icelandic authors published in English include crime novels by Arnaldur Indriðason, The Blue Fox and From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón, and Stone Tree by Gyrðir Elíasson. She has an MA in Icelandic and Scandinavian Studies from UCL and a BPhil in Icelandic from the University of Iceland, and lived and worked in Reykjavík for a number of years as a publisher, journalist, and translator. She is currently completing a PhD in Old Icelandic at the University of Cambridge.