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Iceland and Finland's dark contribution to Nordic Noir (Getty Images)

We take the temperature on Finland and Iceland. Why does Scandinavia’s smallest country, Iceland, contain the most crime writers per capita in the world? And why does Finland have more murders than any other Nordic country?

Johan Gabrielsson
Presented by
Johan Gabrielsson
Published on
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 14:22
File size
23 min 43 sec

To help answer these questions we meet the grand old man of Finnish crime writing Jarkko Sipilä, Iceland’s literary sensation, Ragnar Jónasson and from the University of Iceland, Professor Gunnthorunn Gudmundsdottir.  

Jarkko Sipilä worked for many years as crime reporter for Finland’s largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. Since 1996 he has published 20 crime novels. His main detective is Lieutenant Detective Kari Takamaki at the Helsinki Police Violent Crimes Unit, famous for his patience and logical thinking as he hunts down the bad apples in the Icelandic capital.

Ragnar Jónasson’s first book Snowblind  caused a literal sensation around the world.  As a young lad growing up in Iceland, Jónasson became fascinated by Agatha Christie and has since translated 14 of her novels into Icelandic. His Dark Iceland series, with its main character Ari Thor, has been published in  over 20 countries. Jónasson is also the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir.

Gunnthorunn Gudmundsdottir is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Iceland. Her research is in biographical writing, memory studies and photography. Her latest book is Representations of Forgetting in Life Writing and Fiction (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

This episode's featured book reading is of Ragnar Jónasson’s Snowblind (Orenda Books)  The reader is Belinda Hoare.

Producer: Johan Gabrielsson

Sound Engineer: Vlad Ladgman