Showing posts from June, 2021

Guns (or the lack of them) and crime

   A major area of difference between crime in Iceland and crime in the US that Magnus would notice immediately is firearms. It turns out there are loads of guns in Iceland; you guessed it, t he country has the highest per-capita gun ownership in the world . But these are entirely for hunting: handguns and assault rifles are banned. Guns are rarely used in crimes, and the police are unarmed. Unlike the police in the US. Guns in America Guns are really important to American policemen. The bad guys are heavily armed: the police need guns to protect themselves and their colleagues. To research this series I read a fascinating book called  Into the Kill Zone  by David Klinger , which is a thorough analysis of what happens when American police officers shoot civilians.   We have seen in the news examples of this that are unjustified. But many times, police use their weapons in legitimate acts of self-defence. In tough areas they are aware that they might come under fire at any moment, or th

Time for the crime

I have decided to pull together these blog posts into a book, which will be published at the beginning of July. Like this blog, the title is Writing in Ice: A Crime Writer's Guide to Iceland .  The book includes the posts I have published here and more that I have already written.  You can pre-order the ebook or paperback from Amazon .  If you would like a signed copy, or one not sold by Amazon, you can order one from my local bookshop, Lutyens and Rubinstein in Notting Hill, London. By far my most important appointment on that first research trip to Reykjavík was with my police contact, Páll. Some very successful crime writers get by without worrying at all about police procedure — Agatha Christie springs to mind, but there are many other more modern examples. Others are obsessive, like Peter James. I had always aimed to get the details right in my financial thrillers, and I wanted to do the same in these Magnus mysteries if only to create as vivid a portrait as I could of Icela

Favourite Places - Grótta

  What you think of Grótta depends on the intersection of your mood and the weather.   If you are feeling tired or impatient and the wind is blowing and it's cold and raining and you can’t see for more than a hundred metres, then Grótta can be a bust. But when it is calm and still, and it is warm enough to sit and stare, and the sun is taking its sweet time to duck below the horizon, it is a special place.   The name Grótta refers to a tiny island at the tip of Seltjarnarnes, on which a lighthouse stands.   On the west side of this tip is a beach of black stones. At sunset, the sea shimmers in silver, gold, yellow, orange and even green as the sun creates a path heading westwards to the Atlantic and beyond (see photo above).   On a clear day, the snowy cone of Snaefellsjökull shimmers far away to the north. Sleek black cormorants slip in and out of the water and multicoloured ducks paddle about their business.   Terns wheel and dive, letting out their distinctive cry of ‘ kria’