Sunday, October 11, 2020

On My Radar: Ragnar Jónasson's The Girl Who Died!



If you've been visiting Kittling: Books for any length of time, you know that I'm a huge fan of Ragnar Jónasson's. I love his Hulda trilogy, which set the timeline of the usual crime fiction series on its head. It's obvious that translating all those Agatha Christie mysteries into Icelandic has taught him how to craft a compelling plot. Yes indeed, any time I learn of a new Ragnar Jónasson mystery, it's a cause for celebration, so let me share what I've found out about his next book-- and there will be an added extra at the end!

Available in US on May 4, 2021!


"Una is struggling to deal with her father's sudden, tragic suicide. She spends her nights drinking alone in Reykjavik, stricken with thoughts that she might one day follow in his footsteps.

So when she sees an advert seeking a teacher for two girls in the tiny village of Skálar - population of ten - on the storm-battered north coast of the island, she sees it as a chance to escape.

But once she arrives, Una quickly realizes nothing in city life has prepared her for this. The villagers are unfriendly. The weather is bleak. And, from the creaky attic bedroom of the old house where she's living, she's convinced she hears the ghostly sound of singing.

Una worries that she's losing her mind. And then, just before Christmas, there's a murder..."

The Girl Who Died certainly sounds like another atmospheric, claustrophobic story, doesn't it? The book is available in the UK on April 29. Only five days difference between the two release dates means that it will be easier for me to be good and wait for the US release. Besides, there may be a chance of getting an autographed copy from The Poisoned Pen. If you haven't read any of Jónasson's books, I hope you'll give one a try. (Besides his standalones and the Hulda trilogy, he also writes a police procedural series set on the north coast of Iceland.)

And now for the added extra I promised you!

Let's have a Cover-Off!

Hands down, my favorite cover of the two is the US cover. By comparison, the UK cover is absolutely drab and eminently forgettable. What completely floors me is the fact that the US cover has no blurb. None!

But then, who needs a blurb when you've got a gorgeous cover like that? My favorite shades of blue and just the author's name and the book title. The graphic looks like a Pre-Raphaelite painting, and even though it looks as though the woman is drowning (thus giving me the creeps), I want to know what happened to her. And what's up with that key?

Most definitely, if I were in the bookstore, I'd walk right past the UK cover, but the US cover would stop me in my tracks. How about you? Which cover catches your eye? US? UK? Does neither one do the trick for you? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. That cover is beautiful, isn't it, Cathy? And the book does sound really atmospheric, even claustrophobic, and absorbing, too. One of those books that doesn't let go of you easily, if that makes sense.

  2. It is rare that I prefer a US cover, but I certainly do this time. The blurb intrigues me!

  3. I'm also a fan of Ragnar Jonasson's books. Looking forward to the new one. I prefer the US cover - love the atmosphere it invokes with the dark sky, and light on the shed.

  4. I love all the hardcore mysteries that come from that part of the world these days. Even the videos are very good once I get settled into reading all the subtitles.

    As for the cover, believe it or not, I like the U.K. one a lot better...maybe it's a gender thing?

    1. I don't think so because Ev said in the comment above you that she preferred the cover with the shed, and that's the UK cover.

      I can't get into subtitled movies or TV programs because I knit while I watch. If I watch something with subtitles, I either drop stitches or miss half the program! LOL Now... I don't knit when Denis is watching with me but he has no patience for subtitles. I'm out of luck either way.

  5. I like both covers, but they suggest different stories to me. The stark UK cover, with that light glinting off the barn, matches the bleakness and isolation described in the blurb. If I pick up a book with this cover, I'll expect Iceland, or somewhere in Scandinavia, and an isolated community with secrets.

    The US cover, with a woman falling through those beautiful colors, leads me to expect a story involving drowning, whether literal or metaphorical, with the writing possibly described as 'evocative.' That could still apply to this particular book (it wouldn't be the first time that a cover has given something away,), but it wouldn't lead me to expect the blurb that goes with this story.

    1. This is about the best analysis I've had the privilege to read on any of my cover-offs. Thanks, Kate!

  6. The U.S. cover is creepy, but it's eye-catching and probably has something to do with the story. However, I'm not sure how I feel about books with covers of dead or harmed women.
    The British cover is a good one, but I don't think it adds anything that would draw in a reader. It shows isolation though, as if something horrid happened in that house.
    I won't be reading this book. The first one traumatized me with the ending.

    1. I remembered your reaction to that book, Kathy, so I didn't expect you to read this one.


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!