Tuesday 14 November 2017

Whiteout by Ragnar Jonasson @ragnarjo @OrendaBooks #BlogTour #DarkIceland

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kalfshamarvik. 
Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? 
With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thor Arason discovers that the victim's mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier...

Whiteout by Ragnar Jonasson was published in paperback by Orenda Books in November 2017 and is part of the Dark Iceland series.

I'm delighted to welcome the author, Ragnar Jonasson here to Random Things today as part of the Orenda Books Blog Tour.  He's chosen the books that are important to him, in My Life In Books

My Life In Books - Ragnar Jonasson

I have always loved books. I love everything about them, how they look and feel but also how they can influence the reader’s thought process and have an impact on people’s lives.
I enjoy spending time in bookstores, browsing through books I´ve never heard of and buying anything that catches my eye. Iceland is truly a nation of book lovers, and it’s been said that every Icelander has written a book or wants to write a book. In my immediate family, my father, my grandfather and my grandmother have all written books. My uncle wrote books and was one of Iceland’s most prominent publishers, and my cousin also writes books. So, if I was going to go into details of my life in books it would be a very long story! To narrow it down I have chosen a few good Christmas books. In Iceland, it is a tradition to give books for Christmas and then read them into the night on Christmas Eve. Those are the best kind of gifts. And just to be safe (just like Ari Thor in Snowblind), I always make sure I have bought enough books myself for the Christmas Eve reading night.
I have a few Christmas books which I have prominently displayed in my living room this time of year, in time for Christmas. Some I’ve already read (and re-read) and some I’ve yet to read. I truly appreciate books with a Christmas setting, and have made sure to include Christmas books in both my series, Whiteout in the Dark Iceland Series, and The Mist in the upcoming Hulda / Hidden Iceland Series.
I have been a fan of Agatha Christie from the age of twelve, and have translated fourteen of her books into Icelandic. I am also always re-reading her books. Hercule Poirot´s Christmas was first published in 1938 and the story setting is Christmas, when an old millionaire invites his family over for the holidays. When he is then found murdered, everyone is a suspect! This book is a great read and will keep people guessing until the very end, and includes one of her most famous surprise twist at the end.
I had the great pleasure and honour in meeting PD James, one of my all time favourite author, a couple of times and interviewed her for an Icelandic newspaper. That is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life. She was an extremely accomplished crime writer, one of the very best, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her books through the years. PD James was frequently commissioned for newspapers to write Christmas stories and this new book is a compilation of some of the best.

A Christmas Carol is of course a true classic, from 1843. Christmas isn´t Christmas without the reminder of Ebenezer Scrooge and the importance of being kind to our fellowmen. I have a fond memory related to this book, from a visit to the Morgan Library in New York some years ago, where a rare first edition of A Christmas Carol is on display during the Christmas season. I would highly recommend a visit to the library to anyone who loves books.
Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee, writing as Ellery Queen, were one of the best authors from the golden age of crime in America, and some of their books from that era are true classics, and I can easily recommend most or all of their earliest books, from the late 1920s and 1930s. The Finishing Stroke was published quite late, in 1958, but is very reminiscent of the first books, and also takes place at Christmas, which is a big plus. A very clever puzzle, and very festive as well.

As I previously mentioned my father has written a few books himself. One of them was a Christmas book Jólaminningar (Christmas Memories) where he interviews well-known Icelanders about their memories of Christmas. Although it is an Icelandic book and not readily available to the outside world I must include it into this listing as this is one of my favourite Christmas books. It is very nostalgic book as the older generation looks back on the time when Iceland was much more isolated place, when people had less money to spend on Christmas, with stories even dating back to the time when people still lived in turf houses. Apples and nectarines were for example something that was only available around Christmas and everyone still talks about the apple aroma that filled the houses during the season.

Ragnar Jonasson - November 2017 

Ragnar Jonasson (www.ragnarjonasson.com) is the Icelandic writer of the Dark Iceland crime series set in Northern Iceland.
Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, and works as a lawyer in Reykjavik. He is also a teacher at Reykjavik University Law School and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.
Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen of Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic.
Ragnar is the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir, and has appeard on panels at Crimefest in Bristol, Left Coast Crime in the USA, Bloody Scotland in Stirling and Iceland Noir in Iceland.
Ragnar’s short story Death of a Sunflower was published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine January 2014 issue, the first story in the magazine by an Icelandic author.
His second Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine story, A Letter to Santa, was published in the January 2015 issue.
Ragnar’s short story Party of Two was published in the Crime Writers’ Association 2014 anthology Guilty Parties, edited by Martin Edwards.
Ragnar lives in Reykjavik with his wife and daughters.

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