Review of The Wanderer by Michael Ridpath

Published by Corvus in 2018      ISBN: 978-1-78239-873-8 (PB)

 This thriller sees the return from Boston of the intrepid Icelandic-American detective Inspector Magnus Jonson to the fire and ice territory of Iceland and Greenland to investigate some extraordinary crimes.  The body of a young Italian woman is found in mysterious circumstances near an ancient church and the spotlight of suspicion focuses on a TV crew filming a documentary about Gudrid, a legendary female Viking, who, 1,000 years earlier explored across continents. As the novel progresses, more characters meet a sticky end and Magnus, who has featured in the author’s earlier books, seems no nearer to apprehending the perpetrator as the death count stacks up.   The wide-ranging research undertaken has been skillfully drip-fed into the story, the plotting is clever, with interesting twists and turns and the characters credible, if not exactly likeable. What is stunning is the way in which the author creatively introduces the reader to the fables and sagas of Iceland and interweaves these elements of history, fiction and myth into a contemporary crime drama.   Another pleasing dimension is the author’s dramatic description of the topography and weather conditions that directly orient the reader in the landscape   and makes him/her truly involved in, and caring about, the action.  The clear, narrative style flows well and, like a stream of lava, doesn’t falter and the author’s experience as an engaging  storyteller  shines through, the secrets, lies, divided loyalties, betrayals and hoaxes keeping the reader agog, guessing and entertained throughout.  A cracking who dun it.

 Reviewer: Serena Fairfax


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