"The Flatey Enigma" is the third of AmazonCrossing's Icelandic novels to appear: it is as different from the first two as they are from each other, and just as enjoyable. It is a murder mystery set in 1960 on the tiny Icelandic island of Flatey, which is still inhabited today, and reminds one inevitably of one of Agatha Christie's country house mysteries where everyone is stranded for the weekend, and one of the guests must be the perpetrator, but with the island of Flatey standing in for the country house. It's not quite that simple, though, because the islanders have boats, so any of the suspects could get on and off the island, perhaps unobserved. And it's got a thumping great McGuffin of a plot device in the form of a mystery surrounding a (real) mediaeval manuscript called the Flatey Book.
I'm really not sure whether Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson wants us to take his story seriously, or whether it's just a lovingly-crafted piece of retro hokum. Either way, it's a great page-turner and tells you a lot about Icelandic rural life 50 years ago, as well as digging up all sorts of nasty things about some of the characters' backgrounds. As is only appropriate, things don't turn out quite as expected, and the island doesn't declare all its secrets to everyone. I liked, by the way, the way the police only play a limited role in the story. It's really an ensemble piece and would make a great play or TV adaptation.
It seems two more Ingolfssons are on the way, which is good news.