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A book tour in the land of lava and tin houses

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If you ever fly to Iceland from Europe, be sure to book yourself into a window seat on the right-hand side of the aeroplane. Your first view of Iceland will be unforgettable.

My first landing at Keflavík airport was in the autumn of 1995. My debut novel, a financial thriller entitled Free To Trade, had been published in January that year to an acclaim which was both satisfying and bewildering. I was lucky: it was the right book at the right time for the publishing world, and the following twelve months exploded in the competing demands of a frenzy of publicity and a contractual requirement to sit down and write a second book. I received invitations from foreign publishers to travel to Australia, the United States, France, Norway, Denmark, Holland. And Iceland.

I was urged by my agent to accept most of these invitations, but I didn’t really have to go to Iceland.  Although its population are avid readers, there are only three hundred thousand of them; it’s scarcely an important market in…

Writing in Ice

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WRITING IN ICE is the story of how I fell in love with Iceland: a memoir of researching and writing a detective series set in the Land of Fire and Ice.


The blog will describe the landscape, society, history and people of Iceland as seen through the eyes of a writer researching a crime novel.


There will be posts on crime and the police, language, the sagas, volcanoes, the financial crash and the pots and pans revolution, folklore and elves, the sagas, the rapid modernisation of the country in the twentieth century, sheep farming, fishing and the Viking discovery of America. All these will relate to researching the characters, settings and plots of my Magnus novels.


I intend to show what is involved in writing a crime series set in a foreign country: how to come up with a detective, how to describe landscape, how to invent characters, how to plot and how to revise.


The Icelanders’ have a saying: ‘Glöggt er gests augad,’ which means something like ‘Clear is a guest’s eye’. The idea is that a…