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  • Location: Kálfshamarvík

Whiteout (Dark Iceland 4 )

Why a Booktrail?

2000s: A ghostly Icelandic town with a few secrets still left clinging to life

  • ISBN: 978-1910633892
  • Translator: Quentin Bates
  • Genre: Crime, Mystery

What you need to know before your trail

A young woman ends up at the bottom of the cliffs in the small, former settlement of Kálfshamarvík. To make matters even worse, the whole sorry affair takes place only a couple of days before Christmas.

The setting is going to prove to be both troublesome and intriguing for those tasked with investigating the incident. This is a ghost town, abandoned and deceived where everything has died, and now someone returning to this godforsaken place has met her death too.

There is a sole lighthouse at the heart of the mystery. Will it shed light on the crimes and buried secrets of this lonely, lonely place?

Travel Guide

Kálfshamarsvík

Ragnar’s guide to the setting of the novel:

Kálfshamarvík (a) Ragnar Jónasson

Kálfshamarvík (a) Ragnar Jónasson

The book is set in the real place of Kálfshamarsvík, where there used to be a village. There was a settlement of fishermen there around 1900, a couple of houses on the point and round about, with the bay being the attraction. The buildings were turf, timber and stone, but now they’re all gone, with some ruins remaining. There were more houses built after the turn of the century, even a school where people used to gather for dances.

In 1930 there were fourteen houses out on the point and around it, and seventy or so people living there, and even more a couple of decades before that. There was no fresh water out on the point and the houses were heated by burning peat, and both of those, water and peat, had to be carried there.

The place began to decline and after 1940 nobody lived there. People blamed the Depression, low prices for fish, and the fishing wasn’t as good as it had been. In the book, an imaginary house is added to Kálfshamarsvík, the centre stage for the story. Kálfshamarsvík is a popular tourist destination, with beautiful basalt columns to be seen there.

Trail Gallery

Booktrailer Review

Susan: @thebooktrailer

Ragnar I do love your books. They are subtle and understated and quietly confident. This installment of the Dark Iceland series is set somewhere even more remote than Siglufjörður and equally as unpronounceable! haha

Kálfshamarvík is a ghost town, abandoned with the souls of those gone before including the town itself abandoned to the elements and the wind. Well this just sent shivers of excitement up my spine. I love ghostly and abandoned places – where the wind seems to whisper its icy secrets. A bit of a locked room mystery this one as well with a limited cast of characters so very Agatha Christie -esque.

The location more than shines in Ragnar’s novel and is almost lyrical and melodic. It was a bit windy the day I read this and I opened up the window and let the chills come even thicker and faster. Ragnar’s writing is very visual and this more than carries the story along and casts a fog that you desperately want to see through in order to solve the crime.

There wasn’t much to see on google maps when I came to look at the location so that gave me an added frisson. Nothing on the map? That just made me excited to read this even more. I’m always suspicious when I can’t find pics of a place luckily Ragnar sent exclusive photos and it was exactly as I’d hoped it would be  – isolating, haunting and lost in space and time. That lighthouse is a sense of foreboding all of its own.

Next time I take a look at the map, I hope to see a statue of Ragnar for putting this place firmly on the literary map!

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  Whiteout (Dark Iceland 4 )

Destination: Kálfshamarvík  Author/Guide: Ragnar Jonasson  Departure Time:2000s

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