Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Expanding the Golden Age by Ragnar Jónasson

am delighted to welcome Ragnar Jónasson to my blog today for his Blackout Blog Tour. Ragnar talks about the Golden Age of detective fiction and which titles he has enjoyed the most. Blackout was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 15 July 2016. You can reaa snippet of my review below.

Expanding the Golden Age
By Ragnar Jónasson

I have sometimes been asked about my influences and in these cases I invariably mention the Golden Age of detecive fiction, along with more modern crime authors as well, of course. The Golden Age is usually defined as the era between the two world wars, and I thought I might use this opportunity to recommend a few Golden Age titles which I’ve enjoyed. 

These books are usually focused on the detection of a crime, although they can hardly be called police procedurals, and the element of the puzzle is quite important. Fair play is also of the utmost improtance and the reader is challenged to solve the case – indeed sometimes literally, as in the first book I’d like to mention, “The Roman Hat Mystery”, Ellery Queen’s first case, first published in 1929. The early Ellery Queen novels are superb examples of the Golden Age, and a particular favorite of mine, in addition to The Roman Hat Mystery, is The Dutch Shoe Mystery (1931), which is perfectly set in a mysterious hospital. 

Another great Golden Age writer from the US, if somewhat underrated perhaps, is S.S. Van Dine, the creator of the debonaire sleuth Philo Vance. My favorite is The Greene Murder Case (1928), set in the “gloomy Greene mansion in New York”, but I can also recommend, for example, The Scarab Murder Case (1929). 

I would also like to mention a classic novel by Anthony Berkely, The Poisoned Chocolates Case (1929), featuring Roger Sheringham, and it should be noted that the British Library will be re-issuing this title in October, with a brand new alternative ending by crime writer Martin Edwards. 

Another great Golden Age author is New Zealand’s Ngaio Marsh, and amongst her titles I would recommend “Enter a Murderer” (1935), the second Roderick Alleyn mystery, dealing with a murder in the theatre. 

I have of course failed to mention the Golden Age writer here above, Agatha Christie, as selecting my favorite of her novels would be the subject for another article.

About Ragnar Jónasson

Ragnar Jónassen was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he works as a writer and a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.
Ragnar Jonasson is the award winning author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. He is the winner of the Mörda Dead Good Reader Award 2016 for Nightblind. TV rights to the series have been sold to production company On the Corner in the UK, producers of Academy Award winning documentary Amy.

He is also the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir.

Find Ragnar Jónassen on his website and on Twitter - @ragnarjo

By Ragnar Jónasson
Published by Orenda Books (Kindle - 30 June 2016; Paperback - 15 July 2016)
ISBN: 978-1910633465

Publisher's description
On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer's night. As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykajvik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person's life hangs in the balance. Ari Thor Arason and his colleagues on the tiny police force in Siglufjordur struggle with an increasingly perplexing case, while their own serious personal problems push them to the limit. What secrets does the dead man harbour, and what is the young reporter hiding? As silent, unspoken horrors from the past threaten them all, and the darkness deepens, it’s a race against time to find the killer before someone else dies...

My verdict
Blackout is Ragnar Jónassen's darkest book yet... All of the Dark Iceland novels read like old-fashioned whodunnits set in modern times. But they're certainly NOT formulaic, as each book has given me a completely different reading experience... As the jigsaw pieces slotted into place, there were several breath-holding final chapters.

Read my full review of Blackout here

Check out more brilliant books from Orenda Books here.

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